Pope's motorbike sells for record breaking £200,000
Pope Francis' Harley Davidson sold for a whopping £200,200 at a sale in Bonhams today as part of Les Grandes Marques du Monde sale at the Grand Palais in Paris.
The pontiff was originally given the 1,585cc Dyna Super Glide bike in June last year to mark the 110th anniversary of Harley Davidson, but is better known for riding around in a 30-year-old Renault 4 after famously eschewing the more comfortable 'Popemobile' – a Mercedes-Benz.
The motorbike, which is signed by his Holiness, was expected to fetch £10,000 to £12,500, but smashed that target when it went to auction earlier today in a bidding war that lasted just six minutes.
Also sold at auction was the Pope's signed Harley Davidson leather jacket, which went to a separate bidder for £47,500, making the total raised almost a quarter of a million pounds.
The money will be donated to Caritas Roma, a charity that works on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church. More specifically, the cash will help fund renovations of the Don Luigi di Liegro hostel and soup kitchen based in Rome's Termini railway station.
The hostel opened 30-years-ago with the aim of supporting some of Rome's most vulnerable citizens, and currently provides more than 1,000 people with food and accommodation every day.
The director of the Caritas of Rome Diocese, Msgr. Enrico Feroci thanked the Pope for his generous donation in advance last October, saying: "It's a precious gift which has made us happy once again, made us feel the closeness of our Bishop [the Pope] to the poor of the Church of Rome."
Following the sale today, he expressed his thankfulness once again: "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."
Pope Francis is well known for his humility, and his desire to rid the Vatican of corruption; the so-called 'Bishop of Bling', Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg, was suspended last year after spending around £26 million on renovations to his official residence.
The Telegraph reports that in June, the Pope warned a group of future priests and nuns to be careful how they spend their money, telling them, "It hurts my heart when I see a priest with the latest model car."
It is perhaps unsurprising, therefore, that he decided to sell the motorcycle in favour of more modest means of transport.
Ben Walker, head of motorcycles at Bonhams, said: "It has to be a world-record for a twenty-first century Harley Davidson, and certainly for a Harley Davidson leather jacket.
"I am thrilled with the result achieved and am very pleased for the charity."
The motorbike went to a private buyer in Europe, while the jacket was snapped up by an overseas bidder.