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Ruth Bader Ginsburg library sells for almost $2.4 million at public sale


Supreme Court docket Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg participates in a dialogue in the course of the Library of Congress Nationwide Guide Pageant on the Walter E. Washington Conference Heart on Saturday, August 31, 2019.

Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Name, Inc. | Getty Pictures

Late Supreme Court docket Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s expansive private library bought at public sale Thursday for a jaw-dropping $2.35 million, together with a single e-book that bought for over $100,000.

The public sale of greater than 1,000 of Ginsburg’s books and different memorabilia generated bids “past our wildest goals,” mentioned Catherine Williamson, specialist of nice books and manuscripts at auction-house Bonhams, which bought the gathering.

Williamson mentioned in a telephone interview that she had thought the entire public sale would complete between $300,000 to $500,000. However the sum of all last bids totaled $2,354,510, she instructed CNBC after the public sale ended.

The net public sale kicked off final week and ended Thursday afternoon, the identical day that sitting Justice Stephen Breyer announced he will step down from the bench.

Bidding on just about all the tons vastly exceeded Bonhams’ estimates, which have been intentionally conservative as a result of few of Ginsburg’s gadgets had beforehand come up for public sale. However the late justice’s unlikely celebrity in her later years introduced a flood of consideration and bidding curiosity from potential consumers a lot youthful than Bonhams’ common crowd of e-book collectors, Williamson mentioned.

The highest-selling e-book: Ginsburg’s copy of the 1957-58 Harvard Law Review, which fetched a whopping $100,312.50.

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The authorized tome from Ginsburg’s time at Harvard is scrawled along with her handwritten annotations within the margins. The e-book’s backbone options “Ruth B. Ginsburg” lettered in gilt.

Each one of many obtainable tons — 166 have been listed — bought within the public sale, a hit often called a “white glove” sale, Williamson mentioned. “These do not occur fairly often!” she famous in an e-mail.

Different high-dollar tons included Ginsburg’s personal copy of her personal collected writings and speeches — a e-book certain specifically for her by Simon and Schuster, based on Bonhams — which bought for over $81,000.

A signed copy of “My Life on the Street,” the memoir of main feminist activist Gloria Steinem, bought for almost $53,000. “To dearest Ruth — who paved the street for us all — with a lifetime of gratitude — Gloria,” Steinem handwrote in Ginsburg’s copy.

Ginsburg’s standing as a trailblazer for ladies and a liberal stalwart garnered her a progressive following that transcended the judicial sphere. By the point of her loss of life in late 2020 at age 87, Ginsburg had turn out to be a pop-culture icon.

Her library displays it. Past the dense regulation textbooks, literary classics and memoirs warmly inscribed by her fellow high-court justices, the gathering consists of gadgets similar to sheet music for “I will Struggle,” the theme track of a 2018 documentary on Ginsburg. It bought for over $35,000. Each the track and the movie have been nominated for Academy Awards in 2019.

Additionally within the assortment was a copy of “The RBG Workout,” that includes a fawning inscription by writer Bryant Johnson, Ginsburg’s longtime private coach.

“You have got made a distinction with me, and I hope to go that on to everybody I can. You’ll at all times be a ‘Tremendous Diva,'” Johnson wrote within the e-book, which was withdrawn from the public sale.

The library additionally included a number of signed books by Breyer, a longtime colleague of Ginsburg’s who mentioned he intends to retire by the top of the courtroom’s present time period round late June.

“To Ruth, my pal and colleague, with admiration and affection, Stephen,” learn Breyer’s inscription to Ginsburg in a replica of his 2005 e-book “Energetic Liberty,” which bought for almost $18,000.



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