OAKLAND (KPIX) — When the Pacific Boys Choir Academy acquired four pieces of rare Chinese poster art, they thought their financial woes were in the past. However, when it came time for auction, they had a shocking discovery.

Pacific is a small private Oakland school specializes in educating musically gifted boys. They have won Grammys, and preformed internationally and locally.

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Despite fame, the school struggles to make ends meet. Then fate stepped in.

Ronald Cohen is a member of the Board of Directors for the Pacific Boys Choir Academy.

“About a year and a half ago, we were given this incredible donation of Art. Four pieces valued at almost $3 million,” said Cohen.

The art was sent out for additional appraisals prior to auction, that’s when the school learned the truth.

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“We discovered that the value was instead of $3 million, was more in the range of a really nice poster you would put in your house,” said Cohen.

Turns out the art pieces are copies, not originals. According to the appraiser they are more at home in a poster shop instead of a museum. The news was devastating. Hopes and dreams vanished. The school had borrowed against the art and spent nearly $400,000 hiring additional staff, improving facilities and developing additional curriculum. Now drastic cuts are being made.

“I feel that, the outcome of this is incredibly unexpected, said Janelle Geistlinger, Director of Admissions.

“The School is always in jeopardy. Like any Arts Organization, we’re fund raising for significant portion of our operating budget,” Cohen added.

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The school says the original donor had no idea the art pieces were copies either.