Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Personal Library Achieves More Than $2.3 Million
New York — Drawing in more bidders than any other auction in Bonhams history (live or online), The Library of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg online sale completed Thursday as a white glove sale, with every lot selling well beyond its pre-sale estimate. Leading the sale was the standout performance of Ginsburg’s heavily annotated copy of the 1957-58 Harvard Law Review, the year that she was a member, which sold for $100,312.50 inc. premium shattering its pre-sale estimate of $2,500 - 3,500. The total hammer price (inc. premium) achieved for this white glove sale was $2,354,510.
The sale featured 162 lots of books and ephemera from the legendary justice’s private library, a record of her evolution from student (and voracious reader) to lawyer and law professor, to judge and finally, Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Notably, the library contained a large selection of presentation copies on various subjects inscribed by the authors with Gloria Steinem’s memoir, My Life on the Road, leading the selection with a sale price of $52,812.50 inc. premium against an estimate of $300 - 500.
Catherine Williamson, Head of Bonhams Book Department, says, “Handling this library was a career-high moment for me. It’s richly rewarding to see the larger community respond as enthusiastically to Justice Ginsburg as we at Bonhams did internally. Today feels like a watershed moment for collectors of women’s history and I’m so proud to have been a part of it.”
Sale highlights include:
● Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Own Copy of Her Collected Writings, My Own Words. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2016. Sold for $81,562.50 inc. premium against an estimate of $1,000 - 2,000.
● "I'll Fight" sheet music inscribed to Ruth Bader Ginsburg from Diane Warren. Van Nuys, CA: Alfred, 2018. Sold for $35,312.50 inc. premium against an estimate of $100 - 200.
● Toni Morrison’s Beloved inscribed by the author to Ruth and Martin Ginsburg. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. Sold for $31,562.50 inc. premium against an estimate of $300 - 500.
● Sonia Sotomayor’s My Beloved World inscribed to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013. Sold for $40,312.50 inc. premium against an estimate of $300 - 500.