Jackie Kennedy had her pearls. Elizabeth Taylor had her…everything and then some. But of all the iconic neckwear, Ruth Bader Ginsburg with her judicial collars created a signature style that is now up for auction.
In a Bonhams online auction starting Sept. 7 and going through Sept. 16, one of RBG’s most recognizable collars are available for sale, the auction house said in a statement. The auction will include nearly 100 personal items of the former U.S. Supreme Court justice, beloved by many for her intellect, values, and unique collars.
Ginsburg’s family said the proceeds from this auction will serve as the foundation for the RBG Endowment Fund, a charitable fund that will go to 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.”
A previous auction of RBG’s personal library broke its initial sales estimates, Bonhams said, reaching $2.35 million in total and bringing in more bidders than any other online auction in the company’s history.
Ginsburg wore her collars as part of the judicial robes for most of her career, including during her 27 years of service on the U.S. Supreme Court. Bonhams said her family and friends have donated most of her other collars to major museums.
This auction includes a beaded gilt collar, estimated to sell between $3,000 and $5,000, Bonhams said. Other fashion pieces included in this auction are a pair of black gloves and a pair of cream gloves, both estimated to sell for between $1,000 and $2,000. A Nepalese embroidered shawl Ginsburg wore frequently also is available for an estimate of $1,500–$2,500.
According to the Bonham’s auction, part of the reason Ginsburg wore her collars was to differentiate herself on the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court, wore a jabot, an ornamental frill typically made of lace, to complement her robe. When Ginsburg joined the court in 1993, she, too, sported jabots,” Bonhams said. “Soon, however, she branched out into collars of all construction, from the iconic white geometric collar she is most closely identified with to other versions incorporating different materials including stones and shells. Ginsburg wore a gaily beaded collar when she read her majority opinions and a steely version for her dissents.”
“My mother made The New York Times’ Style section and People’s ‘Worst Dressed’ list in the same year, the latter accusing her of ‘a crime of fashion,’ ” James Ginsburg, Justice Ginsburg’s son, said in the Bonhams statement. “While her sartorial choices may have caused controversy in some circles, it’s wonderful to see the broad reach of her ideals and reasoning and how much she is loved and appreciated.”
Ginsburg died on Sept. 18, 2020. Her image continues to shine through tribute jewelry, many a Halloween costume worn by teens and adults, and her unique personality, which made her beloved among many.
Top: One of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s iconic collars is up for auction at Bonhams, with funds raised going to one of RBG’s favorite causes, SOS Children’s Villages (photos courtesy of Bonhams).@jckmagazine
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