French actress and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot attends a meeting, February 11 2004. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

A 50 year-old Russian coal miner suffering from lung disease is seeking a buyer for his prized possession, a signed photograph of sultry Brigitte Bardot, to pay for an operation, a popular tabloid reported on Wednesday.

Unlike many of her fans, bachelor Vladimir Komarov fell in love with Bardot only a few years ago after watching the French siren's 1956 debut film Et Dieu crea la femme (And God created woman), he told the Tvoi Den paper.

There was just no one else like her, said the miner from the industrial city of Chelyabinsk in the Ural mountains.

Komarov sent Bardot, who turned 75 last month, a love letter with nothing but her name and Paris written on the envelope in Russian.

The Brigitte Bardot Foundation sent him back the signed photograph. He is now appealing to local TV stations to help sell it so he can cover medical treatment costs of 61,000 roubles ($2,090).

But Komarov may be overestimating his picture's worth. On marketplace web site Wednesday, autographed Bardot photos were selling for a starting price of around $45.