Last summer, Harley-Davidson donated two 2013 Dyna Super Glide motorcycles and a leather jacket to Pope Francis as the company celebrated its 110 anniversary. At the time, the pope signed his name on the fuel tanks but is said to have never had the opportunity to ride any of them because, you know, a Harley-Davidson does not fit with the usual stuff the Pope of Rome does…
So, rather than let it collect dust in the Vatican’s garage, Pope Francis decided to auction one of the bikes for charity. The papal motorcycle was offered at a recent Bonhams auction in Paris with a reserve price of just €12,000 ($16,280) but sparked such a great interest that a private buyer from Europe paid €241,500 ($327,670) for it after only six minutes of bidding.
Alongside the 1,585cc motorcycle, the auction also included a Harley-Davidson leather jacket signed by the pontiff that sold for a whopping €57,500 ($78,125). The proceeds will go towards the renovation of a hostel and soup kitchen in Rome run by the charity Caritas.
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.
“I am thrilled with the result achieved and am very pleased for the charity. It has to be a world record for a 21st-century Harley-Davidson and certainly for a Harley-Davidson leather jacket,” said Ben Walker, motorcycle department director at Bonhams.
By Dan Mihalascu