3 things to know about Christie's preliminary report on the DIA

Dec 4, 2013

According to the Detroit News, Christie's Appraisals estimated the market value of the DIA's city bought works at somewhere between $452 and $866 million.

Christie's released the preliminary report today. The full report will be shown to Detroit's Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr the week of December 16.

1. What the dollar signs mean.

If you read the report, it addresses the reason for such a broad estimate. Basically, the $452-$866 million estimate is what Christie's estimated as a conservative value ($452 million) and "the most advantageous price at which the property would change hands" ($866 million). 

The estimate doesn't include what Christie's called "Phase Three" COD (City of Detroit) items. Phase Three works have less commercial value and are the final group of pieces that Christie's is appraising.

Fifty coins, 375 textile fragments, and photostats by the local architect W.G. Malcomson are some of the Phase Three works. 

2. The entire DIA is not up for sale.  

The auction house classified 2,781 works in the DIA as purchased by the City of Detroit. That's only about 5% of the DIA's collection.

Here's what the Detroit News reported: 

"Christie's has valued only those parts of the collection that the city asked us to, and within the time frame requested," said Doug Woodham, president of Christie's Americas, in a release. "These city-owned works account for less than 5 percent of the DIA's total collection of 66,000 works."

3. Christie's suggested five alternatives to selling the works.

If you read the report, Christie's outlines five different ways that money could be made without actually selling anything. You can read the report to see what each of these mean. Explanations are located on pages four and five.

Here's the options Christie's suggested:

  • Use city-owned works as collateral for loan or line of credit
  • Identify a partner museum for long-term lease of city-owned works of art
  • Create a "masterpiece trust" to be accessed by members of a museum consortium
  • Sale and permanent loan or gift
  • Traveling exhibition of selected works

-- Lucy Perkins, Michigan Radio Newsroom