Vinyl copies of Prince’s Black Album are as good as gold. In fact, they’re debatably even better. When 500,000 units of the album were made before the record came out in 1987, Prince changed his mind about sharing his new music a week before its release. Having experienced a spiritual epiphany, he deemed the album “evil.” He decided that the record should not be released, and Warner Bros. Records then set out to destroy every unit. In 1994, Prince did allow his label to sell it on CD and cassette, but no vinyl copies of the album were pressed.
However, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist: Come to find out, Warner Bros. overlooked a few when they recalled the album. Three copies have surfaced over the past 30 years, and now, a few more have been unearthed. A former Warner Bros. employee came across five more vinyl copies of the Black Album when he was looking through some boxes that had been in his closet for 25 years. Among his belongings were two sealed Warner Bros. mailers, which contained the records, all in pristine condition.
He contacted Jeff Gold, the former Warner Bros. Executive Vice President who now runs the music memorabilia store Record Mecca, about his findings. “It is easily one of the rarest records in the world,” he told Rolling Stone, “if not the rarest.” Three of the albums were sent to Gold to sell at the store, each initially priced at $15,000. One of them sold immediately, and the second was sold shortly after. As of now, the third is now priced at $20,000 at the request of the cosigners. The employee plans to keep one copy and may sell the other at an auction next year.
See the listing for the records here. Don’t have $20,000 to drop on one of the rarest vinyl records of all time? You’ll just have to settle for this Prince performance from the Paste Cloud below, free of charge.