Paris, Feb 7 (IANS/EFE) The motorcycle that Harley-Davidson gave as a gift to Pope Francis last June sold for about $284,000 at an auction in Paris Thursday, with the proceeds going to a homeless shelter in Rome.
The size XL biker jacket that the legendary Milwaukee-based motorcycle company gave the pontiff went for $68,000 at the auction held by London-based Bonhams.
Harley-Davidson gave the gifts to Pope Francis as part of the celebration of its 110th birthday last year.
The 2013 Harley-Davidson 1,585 cc FXDC Dyna Super Glide has never been ridden and Pope Francis signed its fuel tank last November.
The pope also signed the lining of the biker jacket and both items came with certificates of authenticity.
Proceeds from the sale of the pope’s Harley-Davidson items will go to Caritas Rome’s Don Luigi di Liegro hostel and soup kitchen at the Termini railway station in the Italian capital.
“It is a precious gift that has once again made us happy in feeling the closeness of our bishop to the poor of the church of Rome. We are deeply grateful to Pope Francis for this,” Caritas Rome director Monsignor Enrico Feroci said in a press conference in October 2013.
Bonhams executives were extremely happy about the publicity that the sale of the pope’s motorcycle drew.
The pope’s motorcycle was the star of an auction of 300 legendary vehicles, including models from Rolls Royce, Facel Vega, Cadillac and Panhard.
Thousands of the curious and potential bidders viewed the vehicles at the Grand Palais in Paris.
The Harley-Davidson drew 14 times the estimated winning bid of 15,000 euros (or $20,400) and was gone in six minutes.
An unidentified European made the winning bid of 210,000 euros by telephone and will have to foot another 30,000 euros (or $40,800) in auction costs.
“This is possibly a record for a Harley-Davidson bike,” Ben Walker, who manages motor vehicle auctions for Bonhams, said.