Detroit Art Sale Could Raise More Than $800 Million

Help shave off the billions in debt


When you owe over $18 billion, does selling off a few paintings for $800 million make much difference?

That's the question for Kevyn Orr, emergency manager of the city of Detroit, who is looking for ways to satisfy creditors now that America's largest municipal bankruptcy has been given the go-ahead by a federal judge.

On Wednesday, the revered auction house Christie's said it has appraised some of the Detroit Institute of Arts' collection and said the works had a fair market value of $452 million to $866 million. It also suggested five alternatives to selling, which would allow the city to benefit financially, while keeping the DIA collection intact.

Christie's, which was retained by the city to appraise city-owned works as part of Detroit's bankruptcy case, said 11 pieces on display in the museum account for 75 percent of the appraised collection's total value.