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Bruce Lee memorabilia set for Hong Kong auction

By Natalie Robehmed, for CNN
  • Bruce Lee memorabilia goes to auction August 6 in Hong Kong
  • 13 items are sale, including costume jacket, membership cards, and letter written by Lee
  • The entire collection is expected to fetch U.S.$113,000

Hong Kong (CNN) -- Bruce Lee, the movie icon credited with bringing martial arts to the mainstream, has long been one of Hong Kong's proudest exports -- and come Saturday, Hong Kongers will have a chance to own a piece of history, when 13 pieces of Lee memorabilia go to auction.

The star of classics such as Fists of Fury and Enter the Dragon, Lee was raised in Hong Kong before moving to the United States in 1959 to teach kung fu.

Among the items to be auctioned by Phila China and U.S.-based Kelleher Auctions is a fur-lined, Chinese-style costume jacket, which was custom-made for Lee's follow-up film to Enter the Dragon. The coat was worn by the star in 1973, just before he died from a reaction to medication.

Other lots include signed student membership cards to Lee's kung fu schools, and a martial-arts book inscribed by the actor.

Anna Lee, spokeswoman for Phila China auction house, anticipates the auction will go very well. "It is the first time since 1993 -- when Lee's family auctioned 200 items in Los Angeles -- that lots of Lee items have gone on sale at once."

About 150 people are expected to attend the auction in person, with phone bidders dialing in from around the world.

Bidding is expected to focus on one particular item -- a three-page letter handwritten by Lee in 1966.

Written to Taky Kimura -- fellow kung fu instructor, friend and best man at Lee's 1964 wedding -- the note reveals Lee's hopes for the future: "I'm looking forward for the T.V. series of 'Green Hornet' to come out so that Gung Fu will catch on," he wrote in one excerpt.

The letter is estimated to sell for between U.S.$25,664 and U.S.$38,496. Phila China expects the 13 lots, which all came from the same American collector, to collectively fetch up to U.S.$113,000.

W. Wong Yiu-keung, chairman of the Bruce Lee Fan Club, says this is a momentous occasion for Bruce Lee fans.

"Those lots are meaningful and memorable that let us know more about Bruce Lee," he explained.

"Bruce Lee movies had a great impact on both Westerners and non-Westerners -- those movies strides across different countries, races and languages."

After plans to turn Lee's old home in Hong Kong into a museum fell through this year, this auction is one way for Hong Kongers to finally show Lee some love.