Martial arts fanatics with deep pockets, take note: Memorabilia from the personal life of Kung Fu legend Bruce Lee is set to go under the hammer in Hong Kong this evening. Auction house Spink China expects the combined lot of 14 items, which range from movie props to jewelry, to fetch at least $130,000.
Lee’s iconic yellow and black jumpsuit, custom-tailored for his role in the 1978 film Game of Death, is the auction’s most sought-after piece. It has become a pop culture icon synonymous with Lee himself.
“The flexible, handmade costume was meant to reflect the malleable nature of his own hybrid martial art, Jeet Kune Do, which is not fixed to any traditional martial arts philosophy,” said Reuters. “Despite a broken zipper dangling at the back and some shrinkage over the years from the wash, Spink China expects it to fetch from $32,000 to $39,000 due to its rarity.”
Dozens of movies, cartoons, and video games have paid homage to Lee by featuring characters with matching jumpsuits – Uma Thurman’s costume in Kill Bill and Marshall Law in the Tekken fighting game franchise are just two examples.
The matching yellow nanchaku (nunchuks) that Lee fought with in Game of Death will also hit the block – they are expected to sell for more than $30,000.
One of the auction’s most interested offerings is a one-of-a-kind gold and jade pendant commissioned by Lee just two months before his death.
“[It] features two opposing dragons, emulating the yin-yang symbol,” wrote The Wall Street Journal. “Lee never picked up the item from the jeweler, and it was the actor’s brother Robert Lee who ended up paying for and claiming the item [after his death].”
Spink China expects the pendant to attract a $25,000 bid.
Lee was more than just a martial artist – he also enjoyed drawing, poetry and dancing. Two of his original, signed sketches will also be up for sale. Additional items include clothing, shoes and signed books.
Much of the memorabilia was owned by Lee’s former student, Yaky Kimura. Other pieces were provided by Lee’s personal friend and prop-maker George Lee. Each piece will come with a certificate of authenticity signed by Kimura, George Lee, and Robert Lee.
For those who cannot afford to place a bid, more than 600 Lee-related artifacts are on display at Hong Kong’s Heritage Museum. The exhibit, which opened in July, will run through 2018.
July 20 marked the 40th anniversary of the celebrated actor and martial artist’s untimely death. Spink China’s auction is one of a series of events commemorating Lee’s life.