Bruce Lee

Slices of Bruce Lee history go under the hammer

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 July, 2011, 12:00am

Diehard fans who can't get enough of the late Bruce Lee - and who have the money to prove it - will be able to buy a piece of the kung fu legend's life next Saturday at what is believed to be the largest-scale auction of his memorabilia staged in the city.

Thirteen items from Lee's estate will be sold, and could raise up to HK$880,000, organisers say.

Fans will want to snap up a letter, dated March 25, 1966, that Lee wrote to a friend. In it, Lee talked about the television series The Green Hornet, in which Lee played Kato, the superhero's sidekick. The letter, said to be in 'fine condition', is estimated to fetch HK$200,000 to HK$300,000.

'The item is meaningful in the sense that it can allow us to understand more about Bruce Lee's views and what he thought about his work at that time,' said W. Wong Yiu-keung, chairman of the Bruce Lee Fan Club.

Another highlight will be a dark-blue fur-lined jacket, made around 1973 for Lee's film Game of Death. Its estimated price is between HK$100,000 and HK$150,000.

Other items include a membership card for his kung fu institute, presented to friend and student Taky Kimura in 1967. The card could bring HK$75,000 to HK$100,000. A name card of Lee's, with an estimated price of HK$8,000, is also on offer.

'To the best of my memory, it will be the first such large-scale auction of Bruce Lee's memorabilia held in Hong Kong,' Wong said. The auction is being organised jointly by America's Kelleher Auctions - America's oldest philatelic auction house - and Phila China of Hong Kong.

The biggest auction of Lee-related items was held in Los Angeles in 1993, when about 200 went under the hammer, said Wong.

The lots should be available for preview from Tuesday. Previews will be held from 10am to 6pm, Tuesday to Thursday at Phila China's office in Wan Chai. Those interested can call 2530 0100 for an appointment.

The auction will take place at the office from 10am next Saturday.

A spokeswoman for Phila China said it expected a good response. 'Each of the items is unique. And they are testaments to Bruce Lee's life and accomplishments,' she said. The items previously belonged to Lee's friends and family.

Lee was born in San Francisco in 1940 but was raised in Hong Kong. He returned to the United States aged 18 to teach kung fu, before becoming a film and television star.

He died in Hong Kong on July 20, 1973, at the age of 32. Today, Lee is still regarded as the most influential martial artist and a cultural icon.


The amount, in US dollars, taken at the worldwide box office by Lee's biggest film, Enter the Dragon, since its release after his death in 1973