Ruth Bader Ginsburg auction raises more than $500K


The gavel banged again for late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

An online auction commemorating the two year anniversary of the Brooklyn native’s death that ended Friday night brought in $517,000 for SOS Children’s Villages, the worldwide organization where Ginsburg’s daughter is an advisor.

Items sold included a 14″ gold judicial collar made from glass beads, which brought in $176,775.

Bidders on Friday also ponied up for a gavel and block, which fetched $20,400, and two pairs of gloves that collected nearly $30,000. A shawl worn by Ginsburg sold for more than $12,000 and a pair of opera glass she’d owned went for $10,837.50.

Ginsburg and former justice Sandra Day O’Connor started the tradition of wearing collars on the bench, given that the necklines on judicial robes were conducive to a shirt and tie.

“(We) thought it would be appropriate if we included as part of our robe something typical of a woman,” she told the Washington Post in 2009.

Friday’s auction was hosted by Bonhams. The London-based auction house also presided over a $2.7 million selling of the respected jurist and former Rutgers instructor’s book collection. An auction in April sold $800,000 in items formerly belonging to Ginsburg to the highest bidders.

“I’ve had it all in the course of my life, but at different times,” Ginsburg told the New York Times in a 2015 interview.

Ginsburg, a President Bill Clinton appointee, was 87 when she died on Sept. 18, 2020 after serving on the bench for 27 years. According to Bonhams, Friday’s event constituted the “final public offering directly from the family of Justice Ginsburg.”

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It was comprised of 76 items and also included a cocktail shaker and a cake topper that shows a statuette of the judge standing on the hull of a battleship.

SOS Children’s Villages previously benefitted from Ginsburg’s generosity in 2019 when she donated to the organization the $1 million award given to her by the Berggruen Prize for Culture and Philosophy. That honor was in recognition to her work toward gender equality and “strengthening the rule of law.”

Many items belonging to Ginsburg were donated by her family to the Smithsonian after she died in her Washington D.C. home from complications due to pancreatic cancer.

Conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett succeeded the liberal justice on the nation’s highest court. Ginsburg, often referred to by her initials “RBG,” is remembered as an icon, having been played by comic Kate McKinnon on “Saturday Night Live.” T-shirts, bobblehead dolls and action figures have been modeled in her image.

While civil rights leader Rosa Parks became the first woman to lay in honor in the U.S. Capitol in 2005, Ginsburg was the first woman to lie in state. The trailblazing legal eagle also had the distinction of being the second female to serve on the Supreme Court and the first Jewish woman to have that honor.

She is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, along with her husband, attorney and Army veteran Martin Ginsburg, who died in 2010. The Harvard Law School graduates married in 1956.

With News Wire Services

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