Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Belongings, Including a Picasso and a Tea Set, Fetch $800,000 at Auction—More Than 10 Times the Estimate

Art, antiques, theatre programs and clothing went under the hammer for charity.

Eleanor Davis Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Courtesy The Potomack Company
Eleanor Davis Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Courtesy The Potomack Company

Items belonging to the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg have raised $803,650 at an auction benefiting the Washington National Opera, which the Supreme Court justice frequented during her lifetime.

The estimate for the sale, which included art, antiques, clothing, opera programs, and a silver tea set, was just $80,000, leaving auctioneers at the Potomack Company auction house in Virginia flabbergasted.

The owner, Elizabeth Haynie Wainstein, told the AP that they were “just really blown away by the interest.”

Pablo Picasso Centaure Et Visage. Courtesy The Potomack Company

Pablo Picasso, Centaure Et Visage. Courtesy the Potomack Company.

Art on sale from the legendary judge’s collection included Josef Albers’s Red Orange Wall (1959/1970), which hung over her bed (sold for $27,500); an Eleanor Davis portrait Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which hung in the judge’s office (for $55,000—on an estimate of just $150); a ceramic jug by Pablo Picasso ($25,000), and a program for Rusalka, signed for the justice on her birthday ($7,000).

The sale was “a huge help this year as we try to cultivate the return of our audience,” Francesca Zambello, artistic director of the Washington National Opera, told the AP.

Antonin Dvorak/Rusalka, Metropolitan Opera 125th Anniversary Season 2008-2009 Signed 'Happy Birthday Justice Ginsburg'. Courtesy The Potomack Company

Antonin Dvorak/Rusalka, Metropolitan Opera 125th anniversary season, 2008-09, signed “Happy Birthday Justice Ginsburg.” Courtesy the Potomack Company

Among the star lots was a monogrammed mink coat, which sold for $16,000, and a childhood drawing of “Justice Bubbie” by her grandson Paul Spera for a whopping $12,000.

RBG has been immortalized not only for her tireless work as a lawyer and judge, but also for winning the landmark gender discrimination case that is at the center of the film On the Basis of Sex. The feminist icon was the second woman and the first Jewish woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, over which she presided from 1993 to 2020.

Monogrammed mink coat. Courtesy The Potomack Company

Monogrammed mink coat. Courtesy the Potomack Company.


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