Rare vinyl copies of the late Prince's legendary an elusive 'Black Album' have been discovered around 30 years after they were thought to be destroyed.

The iconic 'Purple Rain' hitmaker - who passed away in April 2016 - had a change of heart after working on the compilation, and it was believes the 500,000-copy pressing was crushed along with advanced CDs and cassettes.

Prince previously described the record as ''evil'', but in 1994 he agreed to a CD and cassette release, with no vinyl copies to be reproduced or sold, and the LP has become a 'holy grail' for collectors, the Rolling Stone Online has reported.

Jeff Gold, a former Warner Bros. Executive Vice President now at the head of music memorabilia store Record Mecca, said: ''It is easily one of the rarest records in the world.''

And Gold was shocked when he was contacted by a former colleague who had discovered five unopened copies of the 'Black Album' in storage, which had come from an old Warner Bros. mailer.

Gold was stunned when he realised it was genuine, after admitting he was very skeptical initially.

He continued: ''I naturally assumed it was a fake. 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.''

Gold was reportedly sent three of the five copies to sell, and he thinks the merchandise will be very popular when they sell at an auction next year.

Gold added: ''I sold the first one with a single phone call to a client. I'm guessing the others will sell very quickly.''