Bankrupt Detroit has $867 million-worth of art

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The city of Detroit, which may have to sell its art in order to pay off some of its debt, has a collection worth up to $867 million, the auction house Christie’s has announced.

Christie’s has delivered its final report which includes a valuation of City of Detroit (COD) purchased works of art in the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) collection and recommendations for alternatives that would help the city gain value from the COD works while retaining ownership of them.

The aggregate fair market value of the COD works remains essentially the same as it was in Christie’s preliminary report on December 3, having increased only slightly with the completion of their appraisal. The revised range is $454 – $867 million.

The final 150-page valuation report provides fair market values for COD works only, which represent just under 5 percent of the DIA’s estimated total collection of 66,000 works. Based on this valuation, Christie’s has proposed five possible ways in which the art need not be sold but used as a means to allow the city to raise funds from the assets. These concepts were outlined in detail in Christie’s preliminary report to the city on December 3.

“We have fulfilled our commitment to the Emergency Manager by providing a fair market value appraisal of city-purchased art at the DIA,” said Doug Woodham, president, Christie’s Americas. “We have also provided non-sale alternatives that would raise money for the city while allowing the collection to remain intact. We trust that both aspects of our report will serve as a useful resource for the emergency manager as he continues to evaluate this element of the city’s debt restructuring process.  We thank all involved, including the DIA, for their cooperation with us in completing this assignment.”