The personal property of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was auctioned on Friday by the London-based auction house Bonhams. The sale included 76 personal items including rare, signature fashion pieces, such as lace gloves and two judicial collars, which had never been offered at auction before. The proceeds from the sale will fund a new endowment benefiting SOS Children’s Villages, the world’s largest organization dedicated to caring for children without parental care or who are at risk of losing it.
One 14″ gold judicial collar made from glass beads brought in $176,775. The late judge’s gavel and block were sold for $20,400. The two pairs of lace gloves collected close to $30,000. Her shawl was sold for $12,000; a pair of opera glass engraved with “Southern District of New York” fetched $10,837.50.
A Bonhams press release said Justice Ginsburg is remembered not only for her trailblazing time on the Supreme Court but also for her fashion statements. Serving on the highest court for 27 years, Justice Ginsburg styled her judicial robes with bold collars. “Her strong convictions in the courtroom fighting for equality and human rights became associated with her uniquely personalized apparel.”
Many of Justice Ginsburg’s collars have been donated to major museums. When not in her judicial robes, Justice Ginsburg often wore tailored pants with an elegant, Nepalese embroidered shawl that brought in $12,000. It was one of her favorite shawls, which she bought in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Ginsburg wore it in 2017 when she visited backstage at the Santa Fe Opera’s production of Lucia di Lammermoor.
Joan Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born on March 15, 1933, at Beth Moses Hospital in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, the second daughter of Celia (née Amster) and Nathan Bader, who lived in the Flatbush neighborhood. Her father was a Jewish emigrant from Odessa, Ukraine, at that time part of the Russian Empire, and her mother was born in New York to Jewish parents who came from Kraków, Poland. She was nominated by President Bill Clinton on June 22, 1993, as an associate justice of the Supreme Court, and served until her death, on September 18, 2020.