RBG's Library at Bonhams

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RBG's Library at Bonhams

Modificato: Gen 22, 2022, 11:42 am

ETA: We are now cataloging the Bonhams sale catalog on LT:

See the flash-mob wiki page for login info, notes, instructions, &c.


Please feel free to post questions here in this thread and I'll check in as I can.

-- Original post --

The full catalog isn't up yet, but once it is, hopefully there will be enough to make an LL out of:


(Thanks to AbigailAdams26 and ablachly for bringing this one to my attention!)

Gen 4, 2022, 2:45 pm

I cannot wait.

Gen 4, 2022, 2:48 pm

>2 ablachly: me too. I would love to help with this one!

Gen 5, 2022, 9:25 am

I just read this and immediately headed over here to see if there'd been a proposal.

Gen 5, 2022, 5:08 pm

Currently reported that "Over 1,000 books will be sold online at Bonhams ...", which is a nice chunk:

The rest of the library has already been spread around by the sound of things, though the noted opera fan's opera books and CDs went to the Washington National Opera, so maybe another subset of books could be cataloged at a later date.

Gen 16, 2022, 8:32 am

So, I'm not sure what's going on here. The Bonhams link has stopped working and given that the sale was supposed to start this week, it's very odd that no catalog has been posted. If I had to guess, I'd say that an institution has maybe purchased the collection en bloc and hasn't announced it yet - but we'll see. I've put out some feelers to see if I can find out what's happening.

Gen 17, 2022, 5:16 pm

And now the link has started working again and I've heard that the full catalog won't be posted until the sale opens, for some reason. A very strange state of affairs.

Gen 18, 2022, 8:52 am

There's a number of items in the preview lot, this morning https://www.bonhams.com/online_auctions/27540/?pageLimit=48

Gen 18, 2022, 5:31 pm

Yep, those have been up for a while (until they disappeared for a few days and then reappeared). But the bulk of it isn't listed at all yet. Very different from how these things usually go.

Gen 19, 2022, 12:02 pm


Gen 19, 2022, 12:05 pm

More seems to be appearing now - hopefully soon we'll have the full picture.

Gen 20, 2022, 12:29 pm

Okay we do finally have a full catalog, and Bonhams have done an amazing job and even included full author/title/date information for multi-item lots, which is a delight.


I've written to Bonhams to confirm that they'd be okay with us creating an LT account based on their catalog, and will report back asap.

Gen 20, 2022, 12:38 pm


Gen 21, 2022, 8:32 am

Okay, we've got the okay from Bonhams and from Justice Ginsburg's family - and it's possible that they may be able to provide some info on the portions of the library which did not go to Bonhams for sale, which would be tremendously exciting (keep your fingers crossed on that).

I will get things prepped tonight for a cataloging project - in the meantime, if you are interested in helping (and haven't yet said so in this thread) please post a quick note here to say so - that will help as I figure out how to divvy up the catalog.


Gen 21, 2022, 8:57 am

I would like to help if I'm able!

Gen 21, 2022, 6:58 pm

Yay! Thanks for doing the work on this. I'd love to help.

Gen 21, 2022, 7:10 pm

Wow! I am completely fangirling over this catalog.

Gen 22, 2022, 11:37 am

Okay, we're ready to go. See the flash-mob wiki for login details and instructions:


Please feel free to post questions here and I'll check in as I can.

Gen 22, 2022, 12:42 pm

I've claimed the lot that includes etiquette.
I'd love to do the First Ladies lot and the Physics lot but I'll hold off to give others a chance first.
So excited to be a (very small) part of this!

Gen 22, 2022, 12:48 pm

>19 genesisdiem: - thanks! Have fun!

Modificato: Gen 22, 2022, 5:36 pm

Quick request: could we put the link to the Bonhams lot at the top of the Comments field, please, to allow for sorting on that field that will provide a list by lot number? Thanks!

Gen 22, 2022, 6:15 pm

>21 JBD1: It looks as though it might need to be listed as Lot 002, 012, 112, etc. in order to show up correctly?

Gen 22, 2022, 6:50 pm

>22 genesisdiem: Yeah it won't be absolutely perfect, but having the lot numbers at the top will be better than the alternative.

Gen 23, 2022, 5:50 am

Note: I'm finding data entry errors in the auction catalog (author names misspelled, wrong word in title, wrong publisher for edition). Worldcat helps.

Gen 23, 2022, 6:57 am

Yep - to be expected to some degree with these things :-)

Gen 24, 2022, 4:50 pm

Still a few sections to grab, folks - feel free to hop in and help!

Gen 25, 2022, 8:29 am

In Lot 106, at the bottom of the list of books, it says:

"WITH: New Republic, August 2, 1993, featuring an illustration of Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the cover."

Is this its own item, or was it tucked into the copy of the Aries book (item 15)?

Gen 25, 2022, 8:37 am

>27 karenb: - looking at the image, it looks like that's just a loose magazine issue accompanying the lot. It can be omitted. Thanks!

Gen 25, 2022, 9:41 pm

If it's the whole magazine, wouldn't it be included as a distinct item? Just curious.

Gen 26, 2022, 9:09 am

Also, will the catalog info remain up after the auctions end? Or do we have a built-in deadline of tomorrow afternoon (Eastern US time)?

Gen 26, 2022, 9:15 am

>30 karenb: - good question. The lot pages should stay live, but that's never a sure thing. The PDF should stay up, and I've downloaded a copy of that as a backup just in case some lot pages do disappear.

Gen 26, 2022, 9:38 am

I'll submit the webpages into the Wayback Machine website as well, for another backup.

Gen 27, 2022, 1:41 pm

Note that the auction is ending now and holy guacamole, some of these prices!

Gen 27, 2022, 1:49 pm

>33 JBD1: no kidding! I wondered if there was some sort of charitable tax write-off or if this is just institutions vying for new collections.

Gen 27, 2022, 2:05 pm

I'd be surprised if it's institutions at those prices, at least in the majority of cases. Very few are gonna throw around that kind of money for these sorts of books, RBG's or no.

Gen 27, 2022, 3:06 pm

High prices are probably reflecting admirers of RBG who want a piece of her library as a piece of history. Maybe they think the association will be worth more in the future.

If she is like most people, she may own more books than she has actually read. Sometimes you get something because it was given to you or you think it will be interesting to read in the future when you get around to it. In previous centuries someone like a Jefferson may have handled all of his books and read most of them since books were not so common. It is so different now.


Gen 27, 2022, 3:16 pm

Yeah, exactly. And there are indeed a lot of presentation copies in this library, including bunches of really uncommon/self-published ones.

And of course remember that the Bonhams sale is only a piece of this library, much of which was donated to various places and charities.

Gen 27, 2022, 4:05 pm

Are the prices being preserved in the Legacy Library, perhaps in each book's Comments?

Gen 27, 2022, 4:11 pm

>38 Cynfelyn: - Good question. How do folks feel? With sooooo many multi-volume lots, it would be a lot of work (and fairly misleading) to include the total lot price in each book's record. So I'm inclined not to include it, but willing to be persuaded ...

Gen 27, 2022, 4:57 pm

>39 JBD1: perhaps making a note on the main page but not each individual entry?

Gen 27, 2022, 5:49 pm

>40 genesisdiem: - Yeah I was thinking something like that too.

Gen 29, 2022, 5:05 pm

Okay I think we're pretty much all in, I will do a little cleanup and add some info about the sale prices and then I think we're pretty much there. As I mentioned there is a chance we'll get more info about books that went elsewhere, and if so I'll put out another call for help! Thanks to everyone who pitched in!!

Apr 27, 2022, 6:53 pm

There’s a story on cbs news tonight about RBG’s auction. Back soon if I can get the link.