What to sell on eBay: Expired Polaroid Film

Technically, this photo features a Kodak Colorburst 100 Instant Film camera, not a Polaroid.
However, I'm going to allow it.

Remember a world before digital photography? Remember loading film, only having 24 or so precious images per roll, and then waiting for a week to get your prints only to discover you screwed-up all the exposures?
And if you needed a quick image right now (i.e. a couple of minutes from now) there was one go-to option; good old Polaroid Instant Film.

Well, those days are dead and gone. What used to be the standard product for impatient photographers is now relegated to the world of artists and nostalgic hipsters. The Polaroid Corporation, after being sold and restructured and filing several times for super-bankruptcy and having its parent company get criminally investigated, stopped making cameras in 2007 and then stopped production on the popular instant film in 2009.

With expiration dates set usually a few years after production, it is easy to reach the conclusion that every single package of Polaroid instant film has already expired. But this doesn't mean they are all worthless. Quite the opposite. Polaroid film, if stored properly, can often last many years beyond its expiration date. And with no new stock being produced, collectors (the previously mentioned artists and nostalgic hipsters), will pay big bucks just to gamble on an unopened pack of 10 instant photos.

Check a search of completed links for expired Polaroid 600 film. Go ahead, I'll wait...
There, you see. $20 to $25 easily on packages of film that expired over 10 years ago! I find these things all the time at garage sales. Most folks think they just don't have any value in the digital age. But you and I know better.

Strangely enough, most old Polaroid cameras, particularly those that take the 600 film, aren't worth very much themselves. It's mostly just the film the draws a bidding frenzy. And all this still happens despite the fact that there is a group called The Impossible Project that is currently making superior, non-expired instant film in the old  Polaroid factory in Europe.

The near-complete domination of digital photography has put a lot of high quality and collectible photo gear on the local reuse marketplace, and it is often priced a antiquated junk. Some of it is, but a lot of it can be sold for dozens, even hundreds of dollars on eBay. I'm talking cameras, flashes, lenses, film, medium format, even camera cases.

So next time you're a a yard sale and you seem some decent 35mm camera or unopened pack of Polaroid film, get that smartphone out and get picking!


  1. Hey Peter, thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I love it when we all share our information so that we can all learn and benefit from each other.

    I know this stuff sells, but I've yet to come across the film. I do however sell quite a bit of the vintage polaroid cameras though! :)

    Looking forward to catching up on all your posts.

    Have a great one!

    Margaret @ Live Like No One Else

    1. Thanks for the comment. It's funny that I've never had any luck fetching a decent profit on the 600-style Polaroid cameras... maybe I need to investigate that further. The film is certainly not as abundant as it once was.