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Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Private Library to go up for Auction this Month

Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg's private library to go up for auction this month

Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a reputation for staying up late at night reading, and this month hundreds of the books that caught her eye will be auctioned online, a window into the prodigious mind of the late United States Supreme Court Justice.

More than a thousand volumes from the private library of Ginsburg (1933-2020), a charismatic magistrate who became a feminist reference at the end of her life, will go on sale between January 19 and 27 in an organized digital auction by the British firm Bonhams, company sources confirmed this Tuesday.

“Both Judge Ginsburg and her husband were voracious readers, not just of law-related works but of literature, history, philosophy, and travel books,” explained Bonhams Director of Books, Manuscripts and Entertaining Memorabilia, Catherine Williamson.

The collection now open for auction includes signed copies of books gifted to Ginsburg by various authors, including the classic “Beloved” by literature Nobel Toni Morrison and a volume by former Vice President Al Gore (1993-2001).

One of the lots includes key feminist texts that Ginsburg read, such as Kate Millet’s “Sexual Politics,” which is expected to sell for between $ 300 and $ 500; or “Women”, which both the writer Susan Sontag and the photographer Annie Leibovitz dedicated to the judge and which will be auctioned for at least $ 500.

“The inscriptions that her friends, acquaintances, and fans around the world wrote in the books for Judge Ginsburg are universally warm and enthusiastic, and confirm that she was one of the most admired and respected figures in America,” said Williamson, who works for the auction house from Los Angeles.

Divided into some 165 lots containing from one to ten books, the collection that will go up for auction includes those volumes that remained in the Ginsburg collection after his relatives inherited some volumes and donated others to prison libraries and the Washington Opera.

Bonhams’ preliminary estimate of the price for which the entire collection can be sold is “between $ 60,000 and $ 90,000 but Williamson said he expects that figure to be “much higher” when the auction ends.

Ginsburg’s ” enormous interest” in the judicial system and justice is made clear by the numerous legal texts in her library, many of them underlined and with all kinds of notes from the judge in the margins, Williamson stressed.

The magistrate, who died in 2020 at the age of 87, was the second woman in history to occupy a seat on the United States Supreme Court, where she arrived in 1993 after a career dedicated to civil rights and in which she achieved key advances to guarantee equality between men and women.

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