Creditor Values Detroit Institute of Arts Collection at $8.6 Billion

The Detroit Institute of Arts.
Photo: Benjamin Sutton.

It had been nearly three weeks since an appraisal of the Detroit Institute of Arts‘ (DIA) collection has been released, and that’s just unacceptable. Luckily, one of the creditors of the bankrupt city of Detroit, Financial Guaranty Insurance Company, has released a new appraisal of DIA’s collection conducted by Victor Wiener of New York-based company Victor Wiener Associates (VWA), the Detroit News reports. According to the new appraisal, the museum’s collection is worth $8.5 billion, or nearly double the high estimate from DIA’s own appraisal.

The 50-page appraisal, which took VWA a mere two weeks to put together with the help of 11 experts, suggests that the city should use the collection as collateral for a loan, rather than attempt to sell it. The appraisal was conducted without examining the collection, though Wiener apparently visited the museum in April. Unlike Artvest, the company responsible for the earlier estimate, VWA did not factor in influences like the relatively low market interest in artworks older than modern and contemporary, or the effects of putting so much work on the market at once.

For the latest appraisal, rushed in order to meet a July 25 deadline ahead of the beginning of the city’s bankruptcy trial on August 14, VWA did its own appraisals of 385 works deemed to be of “high value.” It relied on earlier appraisals by Artvest and Christie’s for the value of another 616 artworks, while using DIA’s own insurance claims to evaluate the rest of the collection.

““The scope and breadth of the collection is extraordinary,” the VWA report says. “Although it may hold fewer objects than other museums, the refined curatorial selection is unparalleled for a museum of its size.”

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