New York auction house Christie's is expected to tell Detroit how much its impressive, taxpayer-bought art collection is worth this week.
Emergency manager Kevyn Orr has said the bankrupt city may have to sell off works in order to help repay creditors, including retired public workers.
A local philanthropist has pledged $5 million to offset expected losses by city pensioners, and there is also a private campaign to raise $500 million to keep the artwork from being sold.
Christie's could suggest alternatives, such as using the art as collateral to secure loans or lines of credit or create a partnership with another museum where Detroit's art would be leased on a long-term basis.
The auction house also said Detroit could establish a trust from which U.S. museums "rent" the art.