Detroit, Michigan - A last ditch rescue bid to save Detroit from skid row this weekend has gone down the pan following assessments by international experts of its 2,800-strong collection of paintings, sculptures, pottery pieces and other precious artefucts branded the City-owned portfolio '99% fake'.
City Hall auditors had been hoping a sell-off and leaseback deal would raise at least $1billion following insurers' glowing appraisals that have compared Detroit's collection to stuff held by the Smithsonian.
Unfortunately new data from Interpol has reassessed the majority of items as work of forgers, valuing the entire haul at little over $200 as a quick glance of its top-billed masterpieces reveals:
Van Gogh's 'Self Portrait With Straw Hat' estimated at between $80m and $150m is more likely to be a 1993 copy by Sheboygan's notorious art forger Robbie Redneck and worth about $25.
Next, Flemish artist Bruegel the Elder's 'The Wedding Dance' valued at between $100m and $200m is nothing more than a sophisticated print retailing on the internet at $80.
Another star painting, Rembrandt's 'The Visitation' whose worth has been claimed to be between $50m and $90m is a 1634 studio copy excited by the aritst's landlord Alfonso the Terrible.
Commenting on the latest findings lawyers acting for the municipality said today the vast majority of artworks in the assessment had been purchased by Detroit during th last 25 years in an initial cash outlay of around $50 million.
Jack Vetriano's now notorious rendition of 'City Philanthropissts Playing Blackjack' still occupies pride of place in New York's Metropolitan.