FAQ: How Valuable are Elvis 8 Track Tapes?
It seems that not a week goes by with a call or email inquiry from someone wanting to know the value of their Elvis 8 track tapes. Most of these calls begin something like, “I see your site is selling a particular Elvis Presley 8 track for $12.99, and I was wondering the value of mine…” The next phase of the inquiry goes one of two ways, either the caller asks how much we will pay for that exact tape, or asks about a different Elvis tape.
So really, how much are Elvis 8 track tapes worth?
8 Track Shack charges $12.99 for most Elvis 8 track tapes, but that includes new pads, new sensing foil splice, thorough cleaning of the cartridge and a lifetime guarantee that it will work, or we’ll replace it. That said, we have over 500 Elvis titles in stock and (as I am writing this, 8 tracks are 30% off) we have sold one Elvis 8 track in the past week.
A quick completed items search on eBay shows that a lot of 25 Canadian import Elvis tapes sold for $143. Another lot of 65 US releases sold for $50. And a lot 0f 72 all Elvis 8 tracks failed to get a single bid of $49.99. Most Elvis 8 tracks on multi-seller shopping sites where the tapes are not really ready to play go for about $10 down to less than a dollar.
But there are some Elvis records that are worth a fortune, right? Yes, but in general record collecting is much more popular than collecting 8 tracks. Also, you must remember that Elvis died in 1977, right in the middle of the popularity of 8 track tapes. Before his death he released at least 55 albums, not including compilations, singles and bootlegs. The popularity of 8 tracks started around 1970, before that Elvis released over 35 albums. So that leaves approximately 20 Elvis albums that might have been released on 8 track during his life that were not re-releases.
Now remember back to the 1970’s and what Elvis was like then. He was a lot older and sometimes a lot fatter than during his peak in the 1950’s and early 1960’s. His popularity was still high, but not like it once was, and his concerts and albums during the 70’s were mostly filled with recycled songs from his heyday. So the 20 albums released between 1970 and his death, many of which made it to 8 track, were mostly live albums and compilations of his previous work. So even a first release of an Elvis album on 8-track during his life is not something of monumental importance to either an 8 track tape or Elvis Presley collector…. Hence a relatively low value compared to early Elvis vinyl records.
It’s also worth considering that Elvis is #2 on the list of highest selling artists of all time, just behind the Beatles, with between 500-600 million albums sold. So even though he is a collectible artist, he has been dead for over 35 years and still there are 500 million Elvis albums floating around, so rarity doesn’t help boost the value.
So are there ANY Elvis 8 tracks worth ANYTHING? Sure. Elvis quads (quadraphonic / 4-channel 8 track tapes) are usually worth in the $50+ range, but they’re a pretty rare find. Also some boxed sets are more desirable if they’re complete, but again, finding the right ones and finding them complete isn’t common.
What about sealed Elvis 8 track tapes? Sorry, most sealed Elvis tapes have little more value and are not much easier to sell than unsealed copies. Even sealed tapes have foam pads that have deteriorated over time and need replaced and usually have dried out adhesive on the sensing foil that will lead to tape failure if not replaced. And sealed 8 tracks are not always immune from label bubbling. It’s even quite common to find unopened cases of sealed Elvis 8 tracks from time to time.
So what do I do with my Elvis 8 tracks? Our advice usually is to donate them to something like Goodwill or the Salvation Army, that is, if you don’t have the time or desire to post them in online/offline classified ads or sites. Trying to sell them will likely take up more time that it is worth, especially if you have only a few titles.