Over 1,000 volumes from the library of late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg are now up for auction. If you’re hoping to add any of RBG’s books to your collection, be prepared – some of the price tags are getting expensive.
Many of the lots in the online auction have bids reaching into the thousands. As of Tuesday night, an inscribed copy of Gloria Steinem’s book, “My Life on the Road,” has the highest bid of $18,000. In Steinem’s handwriting is a simple message to Ginsburg: “To dearest Ruth — who paved the road for us all — with a lifetime of gratitude — Gloria.”
All of Ginsburg’s volumes have been condensed into 166 lots available online, Catherine Williamson, the director of fine books and manuscripts at Bonhams, tells Nexstar.
“We’ve had a tremendous amount of attention for this sale, and currently have over 900 registrants, which is a tremendous number of participants for any auction,” Williamson says.
Other high-priced items include inscribed works like “Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts,” inscribed by late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, at $11,000, and Jane Goodall’s “Hope for Animals and Their World,” currently at $7,500.
There are a number of more personal pieces, like a copy of the 1957-58 “Harvard Law Review” with Ginsburg’s annotations, with a top bid of $11,000; Ginsburg’s own copy of her collected writings, “My Own Words,” at $7,500; and a textbook from her procedure class at Harvard at $7,000.
Steinem isn’t the only one to share a piece with Ginsburg. Lot 143, for example, includes 11 celebrity biographies and memoirs inscribed to the late justice. Among the titles are Tina Fey’s “Bossypants” and two hardcover versions of “Along the Way” by Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez.
Williamson says that while she has a lot of favorite works in this sale – like Ginsburg’s copy of the Harvard Law Review and Steinem’s book – there’s a particular item that stands out.
“In my opinion … one of the most important association pieces is lot 14, a copy of an article by Sandra Day O’Connor that Ginsburg requested when they first met in 1993 during the latter’s nomination process. O’Connor sent the offprint with a kind note, but the transaction marks the beginning of a decades-long friendship between the first two women on the U.S. Supreme Court,” Williamson explains.
Ginsburg, the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court, passed away in September 2020 at the age of 87. According to the Court, Ginsburg died of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. Two months prior, Ginsburg revealed she was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for lesions on her liver.