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A two-day auction of Copia art, wine and other assets brought in more than $350,000, said Jim Cantrell, manager of the Copia liquidation trust.

However, the total from the sale of about 1,000 lots fell short of what organizers had expected, Cantrell said.

“Disappointing,” was how Cantrell described some sale figures from the auction last Friday and Saturday. Proceeds were “not as good as we might have hoped,” he said.

Cantrell noted several wine exhibits that did not sell, possibly because they were so customized that a reuse might prove difficult.

In addition, “some art pieces went for much less than what the values we had indicated,” Cantrell said. “Some people got some real bargains,” such as Copia’s iconic glass grape cluster by artist Mitch LaPlante. Valued at $30,000, the piece sold for $3,500.

A few other items, including a life-size statue of André Tchelistcheff and a piece of art by Eleanor Coppola, were removed from the auction at the last minute.

Cantrell said he received notices from several donors that those pieces were on loan, and not donated, as previously thought.

“We just need more documentation,” on the items in question. Cantrell said. “Until it gets sorted out we have to wait,” to sell them.

Copia opened in November 2001 to much acclaim. Legendary vintner Robert Mondavi put up millions of dollars in seed money to get the center launched. While Copia inspired other businesses and was lauded by the arts community, it struggled financially, losing millions of dollars a year.

When Copia filed for bankruptcy on Dec. 1, 2008, it had a bond-financed debt of more than $78 million.

Bob and Lauren Ackerman made the highest-priced purchase of the auction when they bought a painting of Robert Mondavi for $9,000.

“I didn’t want it to go to just anybody,” Lauren Ackerman said of the Mondavi portrait. Ackerman, who previously served on the board at Copia, said she hoped to preserve the legacy of Mondavi and Copia. She’s restoring a Victorian in downtown Napa and plans to display the painting inside the home.

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“It’s a piece of Napa history,” she said. “I wanted the painting to have a special place of honor in the house.” Ackerman said she also bought some black and white portraits of Robert and Margrit Mondavi.

Removal of the sold auction items continued Wednesday at Copia where Kathi Polachek of St. Helena loaded two large glass panels, one with the title “Forks in the Road,” into a truck. Paying $50 for each panel, she plans to hang one near her kitchen and sell the other panel to another bidder. “There was a lot of nostalgia involved,” in her purchase she said. “We love Copia.”

Janet Thomas with Caymus Vineyards helped pack up empty display cases inside Copia. Thomas said the winery also purchased frames, folding tables, chairs, wine and the large reception desk at the front entrance of Copia.

“We thought we’d get a couple things and we ended up with eight truckloads,” she said.

Cantrell said he wasn’t sure what would happen to the items that did not sell at the auction.

“I need to figure out how they can best be used,” he said.


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