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Rare copy of Prince’s unreleased 1986 album ‘Camille’ up for auction

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Prince 1986 "Camille" Advance Pressing. (RR Auction via SWNS)

By Brelaun Douglas via SWNS

A cache of items owned by legendary artist Prince, including an advance pressing of his unreleased 1986 album "Camille," are coming up for sale at auction.

Prince intended to release "Camille" in 1986 under a pseudonym of the same name, his feminine alter ego.

via GIPHY

But he scrapped the record just weeks before its planned release and several of the tracks went on to appear in his 1987 album "Sign o’ the Times."

The album, and a collection of flamboyant clothing worn by The Purple One, are going under the hammer at Boston-based auction house RR Auction.

The pressing is estimated to sell for $40,000.

“The advance pressing shows just how close to release 'Camille' came before Prince pulled the project. The label artwork had been finalized, and advance pressings had been distributed to some in-house executives,” said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction.

“It remains unclear exactly how many copies of this 'Camille' pressing exist, but it is estimated that there may be as few as 25.”

The disc is two sides with '"Rebirth of the Flesh," '"Housequake," "Strange Relationship," and "Feel U Up" on one side. The second side includes "Shockadelica," "Good Love," '"If I Was Your Girlfriend," and "Rockhard in a Funky Place."

Prince 1986 'Camille' Advance Pressing. (RR Auction via SWNS)
Prince 1986 'Camille' Advance Pressing. (RR Auction via SWNS)

“The 'Camille' advance pressing was essentially unknown to the Prince community until one surfaced in a lot from the Prince collection of Karen Krattinger, which we sold in September 2016. This is now the third example we have handled,” said Livingston.

“A tremendously sought-after album of the utmost significance.”

Also up for auction is a 1987 UK promo cassette tape and album sleeve proof for the singer’s "The Black Album," estimated to sell for $7,000.

Also known as "The Funk Bible," the album was originally scheduled for release in December 1987 and was to appear in an entirely black sleeve with no title or credits.

After becoming convinced that the album was evil, Prince had it withdrawn a week before its release date.

“Warner Bros. worked extremely hard to destroy all of the 500,000 copies pressed on vinyl, CD, and cassette. Very few survived, making extant examples among the rarest in the world,” said Livingston.

“To our knowledge, this is the only UK album cover proof and the only UK promo cassette tape of ‘The Black Album’ in existence.”

1987 UK promo cassette tape and album sleeve proof for Prince's '"The Black Album." (RR Auction via SWNS)
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The cassette comes accompanied by a detailed letter of provenance from the original owner, who was a music buyer for a large United Kingdom retailer in the 1980s and 1990s.

“In my role, I met with 10 to 15 record labels once a month…at which time they presented their label’s next month’s releases. This would include them playing the new single/excerpts from the album, the marketing campaign associated with the release and any salient background information,” the letter reads.

“The label would often…leave me with a record, cassette, or CD (in the ’80s this was invariably a pre-release record or cassette…) together with album artwork and any supporting materials…The Prince Black album cassette and the accompanying sleeve almost certainly came through this route."

Other items up for auction include a signed "Purple Rain" album (estimated at $5,000), and a Prince signed album (estimated at $3,000).

Bidding concludes January 12.

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