In the wake of music legend Prince‘s departure, more and more content has been released to the public. Following in this fashion, Grammy Award nominated artist and collector Matheiu Bitton has shared with Billboard what could be the most elaborate and expensive collection of all things Purple. Bitton, an artist, photographer, and designer of over 650 albums, including Prince’s Ultimate CS Box Set, began his music collection at the age of 9.
“I had to have every print and every pressing from every country,” Bitton claims in his lifelong pursuit of audio completionism. And while he wouldn’t divulge his secrets on how he’s attained such rare gems over the years, he was more than happy to show them off to everyone. Here’s a few of our favorites.
An actual copy of the 1987 Black
“My Prince rep just left, and I have a few Black albums that were supposed to be destroyed. Do you want it?” I told him to hold it for me because I’d be in the next day to get it. That day I took gold coins from my Bar Mitzvah and traded them in for cash. The next morning, I went to the record store and bought the Black album. It cost 100,000 francs, which was around $1,800. I was 14 years old.”
An unreleased Purple Rain packaging prototype
“This was the Warner Bros. “B” prototype. From what I hear, there were three different configurations made. I met an ex-Warner Bros. employee back in the late ’80s who would give me things everyone else threw out, and I bought this one from him around 1988. This format was used for Prince’s 1985 release ‘Around the World in a Day.'”
The shoes Prince wore at the Golden Globes in L.A
“A very special gift from a special friend. That’s all I can say about that. But these are not the only pair of shoes in my collection — Lenny [Kravitz] gave me a pair of James Brown’s black suede and silver cowboy boots.”
The Next Birthday Promo 12” + Panties
“You can sometimes find the promo-only yellow vinyl on eBay once in a while, but I’ve never seen another one with the panties, greeting card and Aunt Esther (Sanford & Son) mask/fan. Also sent to me by Gilbert on the occasion of Prince’s 34th birthday. I love that Prince celebrated his own birthday by making presents, or rare records, to send off to special people in his life.” There are just a few of the awesomely rad items in Bitton’s collection. Be sure to check out the entire set at Billboard
and let us know which ones you dug the most.