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One of the big bankruptcy stories of 2013 was that of the city of Detroit. The bankruptcy petition was approved by federal Judge Steven Rhodes on December 3. Now the city’s extensive art work is being appraised as part of a valuation of assets.

The artwork is currently being appraised by Christie’s of New York. Among the treasured pieces are a Van Gogh “Self Portrait with Straw Hat” that is estimated to be worth between $80 million and $150 million. “The Wedding Dance” by Pieter Bruegel I is estimated to have a market value of $100 million to $200 million. These are among the city-owned works of art that Kevin Orr, emergency manager of Detroit, believes can be classified among the city’s assets.

Orr is hoping to keep the treasured pieces at the Detroit Institute of Arts instead of putting them up for sale. He believes this treasure trove of art is one of the great things about Detroit. The city’s debt is said to be at least $18 billion and the sale of a few pieces would only make a slight dent in the overall debt repayment.

The average American may not own artwork valued in the millions, but filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be an important step to help protect personal assets. In some cases homeowners may be able to save their homes by stopping foreclosure. Manageable payments can be negotiated to help work your way out of debt. A bankruptcy attorney can assist those pursuing such a filing through the process.

Source: Huffington Post, “Detroit-Owned Van Gogh Portrait Valued At $150 Million,” Corey Williams, Dec. 19, 2013