Bruce Lee signed photo to be sold at GWS Auctions

A Bruce Lee signed photograph - one of the Holy Grails of collecting - is up for grabs at GWS Auctions in Agoura Hills, California on April 8th, with a $3,000 opening bid. 

Bruce Lee signed photo at auction
Image: GWS Auctions


This is a 10 inch by 8 inch black and white photograph from the Big Boss movie, Lee's first starring role. signed by Lee in black pen "Best wishes, Bruce Lee'.

The photo was gifted from Bruce Lee to his friend and martial arts student Taky Kimura following the Big Boss movie premier in Hong Kong in 1971.

Big Boss was later released in the USA under the name Fists of Fury.

The photo is being sold with a photocopy of the original letter of authenticity in which Kimura writes:

"After the premiere of the now famous BIG BOSS film that skyrocketed Bruce Lee's career worldwide, he signed many pictures and gave them to his family and friends. This The Big Boss signed photo has been in my possession for over 40 years."

How rare is a genuine Bruce Lee autographed photo - well, our research indicates that less than 20 are known to exist.

The Celebrity Memorabilia Index lists the value of a genuine Bruce Lee signed photo at £13,750, making it the 6th most valuable autograph in the world behind Steve Jobs, Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix. 

The GWS Auction also includes Lee's Kodokan Judo; A Guide to Proficiency judo manual, also gifted to Taky Kimura with the inscription "To Taky/My Student and friend./ Concentrate yet not cling to it/Best Wishes/Bruce" which has a $2,500 opening bid.

Bruce Lee judo manual
Image: GWS Auction


Very little Bruce Lee memorabilia has ever made it to auction. The most valuable item is the yellow jumpsuit that he wore in the unfinished 1973 film Game of Death that was sold by Spink Asia for HK$650,000 in 2013. 

The same auction saw a pair of nunchaku from Game of Death sell for HK$450,000 - these were also from the collection of Taky Kimura.  

On the signed photo front RR Auction sold a signed photo of Bruce Lee dressed as Kato in The Green Hornet for $19,321 in September 2022. The photo was dedicated to 'Mr and Mrs Martin'.

RR also sold a small 2.75 x 3 inch black and white signed photo 'To Cindy' for $6,875 in February 2023.

In October 2015 Nate Sanders Auctions sold another Black Hornet signed phot, this one dedicated 'To Bruce, best wishes Bruce Lee', for $12,080.


About your Author:

Adrian Roose has over 30 years’ experience covering all aspects of the rare stamp & memorabilia industry during which he has sold over £50m of unique items, helping build collections for Royalty, household name celebrities and 1,000s of collectors around the world.

Adrian was previously a Director at Stanley Gibbons, a Board Member of Stampex, and Executive Director of Paul Fraser Collectibles, PFC Auctions and JustCollecting, prior to founding The Memorabilia Club.


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