Wednesday 16 April 2014

Kung phew! Lee suit fetches £61,000

Anna Lee, vice-chairman of Spink auction house, holds Bruce Lee's original yellow jumpsuit that he wore in Game Of Death, his last film. (AP/Vincent Yu)

The yellow jumpsuit worn by martial arts legend Bruce Lee in his last film, Game Of Death, has sold at a Hong Kong auction for more than £60,000, three times more than expected.

The yellow polyester suit with black stripes down the sides went to an unidentified telephone bidder at Spink auction house's Thursday night sale for £61,300.

It was part of a collection of 14 items of Bruce Lee memorabilia that raised more than two million Hong Kong dollars (£158,200).

The suit was one of two Lee commissioned from his Hong Kong tailor for Game Of Death. The auction house said the zipper on the back was damaged from a fight scene in the movie. The selling price of 780,000 Hong Kong dollars was about triple the auction house's initial estimate.

Lee died in 1973 before he could finish the film. An incomplete version came out that year, followed by a feature-length version released posthumously in 1978 using stand-ins.

His death at 32 from an allergic reaction to painkillers came at the height of his fame. Born in San Francisco and raised in Hong Kong, Lee became a global superstar thanks to his legendary kung fu skills and screen presence. He helped popularise martial arts films across the world, inspiring directors such as Quentin Tarantino, who paid tribute to him by dressing Uma Thurman in a similar suit for his Kill Bill movies.

Collectors also snapped up Game of Death prop weapons used by Lee. A pair of wooden yellow lacquered nunchaku that match the jumpsuit sold for 540,000 dollars (£49,000) to British collector George Philips, an investment manager based in Hong Kong.

"It's an iconic item," he said.

A green bamboo whip went for 96,000 dollars (£7,600).


Press Association

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