Autograph of the Week... Bruce Lee's handwritten notes




At the time of his mysterious death in 1973, Bruce Lee (1940-1973) was on the brink of international super-stardom.

Today regarded as the granddaddy of high-kicking and fist-fighting move martial arts, Lee's first real breakthrough was as the sidekick of comic book hero, The Green Hornet.

The television version of The Green Hornet ran for just one season before being cancelled in the 1960s, and featured Lee as the hero's kung fu fighting assistant, Kato.

Lee as Kato in the Green Hornet

Despite the show's short run, Lee's never-before-seen performance made an indelible mark on pop culture which is still remembered to this day.

Lee made the role completely his own, showcasing a theatrical variation on martial arts quite unlike anything he taught in his schools.

Prior to his success in television, Lee had already made his mark as a teacher of his own invented kung fu style, called jeet kune do. He would ultimately open three schools, in Los Angeles, Oakland, California, and Seattle.

Lee's sudden death from a brain edema, aged just 32, robbed the world not just of an exceptional performer and a new kind of role model for Asian-Americans - but also a revolutionary martial artist.

For this reason, our Autograph of the Week is a particularly exceptional, rare and sought after item.

Prior to his untimely death, Lee had intended to share some of his fighting knowledge and innovations with the world through a book, provisionally titled The Tao of Chinese Kung Fu.

Sadly, the book never made it past the handwritten notes stage. But, for memorabilia collectors, these notes have left behind a value insight into Lee's thoughts and his art.

Among the pieces he left behind is a spiral bound notebook, measuring 8.5 x 11", which contains over 35 pages in Bruce Lee's handwriting.

"Gung Fu is a special kind of skill; a fine art rather than just a physical exercise or self defense… It must give spontaneously, like a flower, in a mind free from emotions and desires" - from Bruce Lee's notes

The written passages are accompanied by comprehensive illustrations, with Lee's original martial arts drawings.

Within the handwritten notes are Lee's profound and meaningful thoughts on the higher rationale of the martial arts, along with exercise routines and various illustrations and diagrams penned in Lee's own hand.

Four page pamphlets featuring Bruce Lee's singular thoughts have previously sold on the market for prices up to $41,250.

This 35-page example - the most detailed notebook of Bruce Lee's that Paul Fraser Collectibles has ever handled or seen - is currently for sale to collectors priced £100,000 ($165,000).

Meanwhile, fans of comic books and superheroes who remember Lee's early performances as Kato may be interested to know that a copy of Flash Comics Number 1 recently sold for $450,000 at Heritage Auction Galleries.

The same copy, graded an extraordinary 9.6, was previously sold at Heritage back in 2006 for $273,125 - an incredible investment.

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