CGC Home Video Explains the Importance of Publisher Stickers to Collecting

As an excellent indicator of a videocassette’s release date, hype stickers shouldn’t be removed.

CGC Home Video™ recently authenticated and graded several VHS tapes that still included an important part of certain original videocassettes’ packaging: publisher stickers. In the 1980s, home video prices began to drop and become more affordable, as Senior Finalizer Paul Zamarelli explains in a clip posted to CGC Home Video's YouTube channel. As a result, movie studios pushed different promotions, such as the “WrapUp Hollywood for only $29.95 Each” promotion.

Many classic films on home video received special packaging along with a publisher sticker on the front promoting the discounted pricing. However, collectors often removed the stickers from the front covers to display the full movie art. Since many stickers have been removed through the years from home video collections, sealed VHS copies with the stickers still attached are even rarer to come by these days.

An example of this is seen on a sealed and certified copy of The Bridge on the River Kwai VHS, RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video (1985) - $29.95 & Home Use Sticker graded CGC 9.8 A++. There is a blue and yellow diagonal sticker that looks like a film strip in the top left corner promoting the $29.95 price.

Not only is the sticker an original part of the packaging, but it also helps identify the date that the video landed on retail shelves. If the sticker is removed, the CGC Home Video grading team will see the impression left from the removal and certify it accordingly, adding a notation about the removal on the label.

In addition, a similar publisher sticker is attached to a sealed and certified copy of M*A*S*H* VHS, CBS/Fox Video (1985) - $29.98 Sticker graded CGC 9.4 A+. This example recently certified by CGC Home Video features a silver “$29.98 Five Star Collection” publisher sticker at the top left of the packaging. The movie studio released over 100 films as part of several different Five Star Collection promotions in the 1980s.

Zamarelli suggests that collectors leave the stickers in place. Otherwise, they risk damaging the cassette’s shrink wrap, which would likely lead to a lesser grade during the certification process. To maximize the value of your certified home video collection, and to preserve home video history, make sure to leave all original items intact on your VHS tapes.