If there’s one thing music collectors love, it’s a rare record. The feeling of being the only one to own this special piece of music history is one of the most satisfying feelings for these folks, and while we’ve spoken about some of the most expensive records in the world before, collectors are now faced with the opportunity of owning one of the world’s rarest albums.
Back in 1987, Prince was getting ready to release the follow-up to Sign o’ The Times. Titled The Black Album, close to 500,000 copies of the album were pressed on vinyl before Prince had a “spiritual epiphany” and became convinced that the record was “evil”.
Soon after, Warner Bros. did their best to recall every single copy of the record so that they could be destroyed. In fact, they did such a good job of recalling these records that, in the last 30 years, only three known copies have surfaced, the last of which sold on the website Discogs for $15,000 last year.
In 1994, Prince finally decided to release the record en masse, but the only available formats were CD and cassette, meaning that Prince fans have been after an official vinyl copy for years. Now, it seems as though a former Warner Bros. staffer has found what many consider to be the “holy grail” of Prince rarities.
As Rolling Stone reports, Jeff Gold, a former Warner Bros. Executive Vice President, says that he recently received a correspondence from an individual asking about the value of the record. “I naturally assumed it was a fake,” he explained, “but wrote a polite response back that one really couldn’t tell if it was genuine unless you opened up the record and inspected it, and that almost all of them were unfortunately not authentic.”
Soon, Gold realised he was talking to someone from his days at Warner Bros., which is when he realised the item was indeed legit.
As Gold’s website, Record Mecca, explains, “The executive’s daughter had purchased her first turntable and asked her parents to send her some albums. Their record collection had been boxed up in a closet for more than 25 years, and while searching for records that might interest their daughter, they stumbled upon two never-opened Warner Bros. Records mailers.”
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“Expecting to find some promo albums inside, they opened these for the first time and discovered five perfect, sealed copies of The Black Album. These had been sent to the executive in December 1987 when the albums were ordered destroyed, and for 30 years, the two mailers had sat unopened among their other boxed up vinyl.”
Three of the found copies were sent to Jeff Gold, who managed to sell the first copy to an unnamed buyer. The remaining two have since been placed for sale on his website, where they’re available to view now.
It is completely unknown how many other copies are out there in the wild, having survived the last 30 years, but if anything it proves that people should go and check their closets to see what rare gems they might be sitting on.