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Ginsburg’s Personal Items Auction Generates Nearly $516,000

An online auction of various personal items from the estate of the late Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg grossed $516,090. After administrative costs are deducted, nearly half a million dollars in proceeds will fund The RBG Endowment Fund. Every year, 5.5% of the fund will underwrite programs within SOS Children’s Villages, a nonprofit that provides humanitarian and developmental assistance to children.

Ginsburg’s ties to Innsbruck, Austria where the nonprofit has operations were forged in 1995, when she was a Distinguished Jurist within San Antonio, Texas-based St. Mary’s University School of Law’s Innsbruck Program. That summer, she delivered a series of lectures while her husband, Martin Ginsburg, taught a class on international taxation.

The online event, hosted by auction house Bonhams, started on Wednesday Sept. 7 and concluded on this past Friday amid a frenzy of bidding that caused final gavel times to be extended, according to a statement from the auctioneers. Every one of the 76 personal items, which included pieces that reflect her signature style, were sold, most for far, far in excess of their original asking price.

Notable lots included one of her jabots, or beaded judicial collars. The jabot, the only one to ever be auctioned, featured round gilt glass beads in a woven design, sold for $176,775. A second jabot, a layered white brocade and ecru and black silk collar embroidered with “It’s not sacrifice, it’s family,” a quote from Martin Ginsburg, was withdrawn from the auction in anticipation of being placed on permanent loan to an appropriate institution, according to a note on the lot description.

Other featured lots included a gavel and block given by Bader Ginsburg to her daughter-in-law Patrice Michaels, who wrote Notorious RGB in Song, a musical salute to Bader Ginsburg. The gavel was used during the show’s Feb. 9, 2019 performance at the National Museum of Women and the Arts at the National Constitution Center. It sold at auction for $20,400.

Two other iconic lots consisted of one pair each of fishnet gloves, the only two pairs to date offered at Bader Ginsburg’s three estate auctions. A black pair sold for $16,575, while another, cream-colored pair went for $12,750.

In late January, Bonhams hosted an auction of 162 items from Bader Ginsburg’s library which generated more than $2.3 million in sales. Proceeds from that auction went to the Bader Ginsburg estate, Bonhams Specialist Catherine Williamson told The NonProfit Times.

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