AP News has reported that 150 items belonging to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg auctioned by Virginia-based The Potomack Company raised $803,650 for Washington National Opera—a surprising amount compared to Potomack’s pre-sale estimate of $50,000 to $80,000. Ginsburg was an ardent fan and fervent supporter of the art form and even appeared on stage in a WNO production of “La Fille du Régiment” in 2016.
The funds will be “a huge help this year as we try to cultivate the return of our audience,” WNO artistic director and friend of Ginsburg, Francesca Zambello, stated in the AP News report.
A drawing of Ginsburg, which appeared in a 2015 New York Times article and was signed by the artist Eleanor Davis, sold for $55,000. The justice’s 2002 National Women’s Hall of Fame Medal brought in $30,000, and two Picasso pieces—a jug and an earthenware plate—fetched $25,000 and $22,500, respectively. A print by Josef Albers, “Red Orange Wall,” brought in $27,500, according to AP News.
AP noted smaller items sold at high prices, as well. Ginsburg’s black mink coat with the justice’s name sewn in the pocket went for $16,000; a childhood drawing made by one of Ginsburg’s grandchildren depicting her as the Statue of Liberty under the words “Bubbie of Liberty” went for $12,000, and a silver tea set for $5,000.