Dozens of letters attributed to Bruce Lee and his wife Linda have been recently uncovered, showing a different side to the martial arts legend and documenting what seems to be a little known affinity to various drugs.
As detailed in depth here on Bloody Elbow earlier, these mostly handwritten correspondence from the late 1960s to the early 1970s show letters signed by Lee and sent to his friend and “long rumored” dealer, Robert Baker. It discussed various topics from their early friendship trying the “holy stuff” and nights out with “little recollection of what had happened,” to the actor’s failed attempt at quitting, and to eventually planning international drug shipments to Hong Kong.
Over 50 letters were previously verified and authenticated by Heritage Auctions, and they all went up on sale on Friday night. This Bob Baker and Bruce Lee collection also included a journal, along with other memorabilia from their “Fist of Fury” movie roles.
After a large amount of bids, the entire collection ended up being sold for a total of $484,700, including the Buyer’s Premium for the auctioneer. The letters they confirmed to have been sent by the Lee family alone sold for a total of $462,500.
Final sale prices fluctuated from $625 for a random note from Linda asking Bob to call, to a $16,250 letter from Bruce asking to “air-mail me some Coca-Cola.”
Several of these letters were about cocaine as he — and Linda — wrote about “C,” “coke” and “Coca-Cola,” but there were also references to other substances and various terms such as “holy stuff,” “super duper,” “M pills”, “H oil” and “good tasting paper.”
A long handwritten letter from 1972 planning how to ship drugs to Hong Kong, and asking for “COKE (in large amount),” “ACID (in fair amount),” “HASH OR GRASS,” and magic mushrooms sold for $12,500.
Even candid and less legible letters that didn’t use Lee’s official Jeet Kune Do letterhead stationeries still fetched a decent price. Correspondence about a “stoned as hell” Lee needing “some coke” to “help” him write sold for $11,875, while a letter rushing his orders despite expressing “deep regret” for Baker’s “friend” getting “busted” sold for $9,375.
Some letters that weren’t really about drugs also got sizable bids, with one about writing “Enter the Dragon” selling for $15,875.
Letters attributed to Linda unsurprisingly got significantly smaller bids than those signed by her famous husband, even if they had similar content. An April 1973 letter, which sold for $1,125, assured that Bruce “is not going overboard” using “C.”
Three months after that letter, which followed up on a $500 order of “C” — over $3000 today due to inflation, Bruce Lee passed away at just 32-years-old.