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Buyers are bidding thousands of dollars for Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s books in an online auction

  • January 26, 2022

“With online sales, we usually see a huge rush of activity in the last hours,” said Catherine Williamson, director of fine books and manuscripts and entertainment memorabilia at Bonhams, in a phone interview.

“Not even the last 24 hours, but the last two to four hours, we see this tremendous rush of people running to put their bids in at the last minute,” she said.

Bonhams acknowledges its initial estimates were conservative, since there was very little material related to Ginsburg that had previously come up for auction.

“In some sense we were winging it,” Williamson said. “We wanted to put prices on it that looked really reasonable. We wanted [the] maximum number of people to participate in this auction.”

Many of the items feature warm inscriptions to Ginsburg, who at the time of her death in late 2020 had achieved pop-icon status among her fans.

“Dear Ruth, Thank you for the inspiration and thank you for all you do,” songwriter Diane Warren wrote on the cover of a book of sheet music for “I’ll Fight,” the song she composed for a 2018 documentary on Ginsburg. Both the song and the film were nominated for Academy Awards in 2019.

Love songs, Diane,” Warren wrote.

Also in the collection was a copy of “The RBG Workout,” featuring a fawning inscription by author Bryant Johnson, Ginsburg’s longtime personal trainer.

“You have made a difference with me, and I hope to pass that on to everyone I can,” Johnson wrote. “You will always be a ‘Super Diva.'”

Some notes shed light on the relationships Ginsburg had fostered with her colleagues atop the American judicial system.

“Ruth- I thought you might like to have one of these little books. Hot off the press,” read a note on an international law book gifted from Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female Supreme Court justice, to Ginsburg, the second.

“To Justice Ginsburg—With respect and warm regards,” read an inscription from the late Justice Antonin Scalia in a copy of his book “Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts,” which laid out his philosophy of constitutional originalism.

Ginsburg’s unlikely celebrity has brought increased attention and bidding interest to Bonhams from younger potential buyers, “which is exciting,” Williamson said. She compared the Ginsburg auction to Bonhams’ sale last year of the library of legendary actor Marlon Brando.

The new crowd “aren’t really book collectors, per se,” but instead are “thinking of building a collection that’s built around people and events that are very important to them,” Williamson said.

“So there might be Ruth Bader Ginsburg. There might be a fancy pair of sneakers next to that, right?” she said. “It’s a different collecting community.”

Article source: https://www.cnbc.com/2022/01/25/ruth-bader-ginsburg-books-get-big-bids-in-auction.html

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