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Culture

Bruce Lee’s punching bag up for sale at Hollywood auction

Sep 24, 2019

How much would you pay for a signed personal statement where Bruce Lee essentially vows to be the GOAT? What about his kung fu suit or favorite punching bag?

These rare items and more will be up for sale this week at the “Icons and Legends of Hollywood” auction in Los Angeles.

The personal declaration by Lee, titled “My Definite Chief Aim,” will be one of the most coveted items.

In the note, which he signed and dated January 1969, he vowed to become the highest-paid Asian-American celebrity in Hollywood.

I, Bruce Lee, will be the first highest paid Oriental super star in the United States. In return I will give the most exciting performances and render the best of quality in the capacity of an actor. Starting 1970 I will achieve world fame and from then onwards till the end of 1980 I will have in my possession $10,000,000. I will live the way I please and achieve inner harmony and happiness.

Bruce Lee, ‘My Definite Chief Aim,’ January 1969

By the time he wrote the manifesto, Lee had already played several supporting roles in American television, including in Batman, The Green Hornet, and Ironside.

But only a few years after writing it, Lee was dead at the age of 32 from a brain aneurysm while shooting in Hong Kong on July 20, 1973.

(Read more: Bruce Lee’s old Hong Kong house set to be torn down)

Yet over that short period, Lee did achieve “world fame” as he predicted.

Through his groundbreaking work in The Big Boss (1971), Fist of Fury (1972), Way of the Dragon (1972) and Enter the Dragon (1973), Lee entered the pantheon of great martial arts stars.

A poster for “The Way of the Dragon” at a shop in Hong Kong.
A poster for “The Way of the Dragon” at a shop in Hong Kong. / Photo: Shutterstock

It is estimated that his handwritten note will sell for $60,000 to $80,000 at auction.

Writing uplifting memos was not unusual for Lee, who was known for his erudite sayings such as “Be water.”

Much of his correspondence with friends, family, and fans—as well as personal notes and poetry—have been printed in Letters of the Dragon, Striking Thoughts, and other publications.

Also at auction will be the kung fu outfit worn by Lee in Enter the Dragon, a film he also produced.

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The traditional martial arts costume has an estimated sale price of $60,000 to $80,000.

(Read more: Where to get Bruce Lee’s iconic white shirt)

Lee’s personal double-ended punching bag, which he used for martial arts training, has an estimated sale price of $6,000 to $8,000.

The punching bag, made with paneled khaki canvas material, features handwritten Chinese characters on the top.

The auction is being run by Profiles in History, the world’s largest auctioneer and dealer of Hollywood memorabilia.

Previous auctions and sales held by the American company have included Marilyn Monroe’s iconic white “subway dress” from The Seven Year Itch (1955), which sold for $5.52 million, and the ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz (1939).

Adapted from an article first published in STYLE.

Bruce LeeNostalgiaHollywood