The year was 1987, and Prince was about to release his sixteenth studio album. The album didn’t have an official name, but Prince referred to it as The Black Album. The promo material for the album contained just a black sleeve and the song listing. Then, one week before the official release of the album, Prince had a spiritual epiphany, and became convinced that the album was “evil”. He immediately abandoned the entire project and asked Warner Bros. to withdraw and destroy all 500,000 copies. The label obliged and hunted down the copies, while even asking executives to return their advanced copies.
Around 100 European promotional copies remained in circulation, but the U.S. copies were almost impossible to find. Although The Black Album was eventually released on CDs and cassettes in 1994, the original 1987 U.S. vinyl edition became a holy grail for the record collectors. Fast forward to 2017, and three copies surfaced in the last 30 years, all of which were sold for huge amounts of money.
Then, in December, Warner executive named Jeff Gold receives a mail in which a former colleague asks around about the price for the original 1987 U.S. vinyl edition of The Black Album. It turns out that he discovered five sealed and pristine copies of the album among his record collection and would like to sell three of them. Two are already sold while one is currently available for purchase on Recordmecca, and can be bought for $15,000. The seller will keep one for himself while the fifth one will most likely be offered at an auction in the future.
If you want something owned by less than 10 people in the world and have extra money sitting around then this one is a must buy. You can wait for Prince’s unreleased album Camille to surface again, but the chances are slim for that to happen anytime soon.