Before CDs, 8-Track Tapes Ruled

(CBS) With a blast from the past The Saturday Early Show's Collectibles Expert Tony Hyman, author of Trash or Treasure: Guide to Buyers, takes a look at music recorded on 8-track tapes.

remember 8tracks

Introduced in the mid-1960s, this somewhat clunky format was soon replaced by smaller, cheaper, cassettes. Music stores quit selling 8-tracks in the early '80s but record and tape clubs offered them for another five years.

The later releases didn't sell well, but today a few, like one by the group Sex Pistols, can bring $100.

Still the truth is that 95 percent of 8-tracks are worthless. The works of pop performers like Styx, Shaun Cassidy and Peter Frampton are worth a buck at best and have to be unopened and unplayed to bring even that.

In general, collectors want punk, alternative and new wave bands. Tapes of Clash, Devo, Elvis Costello, Kiss, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix as well as those of lesser-known rockers with cult followings, like Hawkwind, can bring you $5 and as much as $100 - especially those recorded in quadraphonic, an early form of surround sound.

It's the artwork on the label, not the music, that usually determines value. The tape can even be broken, but labels with bubbles, creases, writing or scrapes from putting it into the player turn an 8-track treasure into trash.

For more on 8-track tapes, Hyman recommends collector David Pearlman. He can be reached at dap@vpharm.com. Find out about other collectibles described by The Saturday Early Show's Tony Hyman in the Collectibles Archive or visit Tony Hyman's Web site.

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