In a bidding war that took six minutes, Pope Francis’ 1,585cc Harley-Davidson Dyna Super Glide sold for €241,500 ($329,000). A Harley-Davidson motorcycle jacket also sold for an astounding €57,500 ($78,000) at the sale which took place as part of Bonhams’ Les Grandes Marques du Monde sale at the Grand Palais in Paris today (6 February).
Watched by a crowd of hundreds, the Harley-Davidson and the leather jacket were the first two lots of the 45-strong motorcycle sale to go under the hammer. Those watching erupted into applause when the hammer came down on the motorcycle after being won by a telephone bidder.
The items, which were donated to Pope Francis by the motorcycle manufacturer in June 2013, were bought by separate bidders – with the motorcycle going to a private buyer in Europe, and the jacket to an overseas buyer.
Funds raised by the machine and the jacket will go towards the renovation of the Caritas Roma’s Don Luigi di Liegro hostel and soup kitchen based at Rome’s Termini railway station.
The hostel opened 30 years ago to help the homeless, jobless and the poor, and the money raised by the Harley Davidson’s sale will allow it to continue to provide food and accommodation to more than 1,000 people in need every day.
Signed on the tank by his Holiness at a special ceremony at the Vatican in November, the machine was also sold with a certificate of conformity from Harley-Davidson. The jacket was also signed by Pope Francis.
Ben Walker, head of motorcycles at Bonhams, said: “I am thrilled with the result achieved and am very pleased for the charity. It has to be a world record for a twenty-first century Harley-Davidson and certainly for a Harley-Davidson leather jacket.”
Enrico Feroci, director of Caritas Roma, added: “We are delighted with the results of the sale, which far exceeded any of our expectations.
“We would like to thank Bonhams for their professionalism with handling the motorcycle and for all their efforts in helping us to achieve such an amazing result.”
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Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com.