By Carol Glatz
Pope Francis greeting a Harley-Davidson biker as he meets with pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square June 16, 2013. (CNS/Paul Haring)
VATICAN CITY — A Harley-Davidson Dyna Super Glide that Pope Francis put up for auction went for a hefty $326,500 today, demolishing its pre-sale appraisal of $16,000.
The record sale was the hit of the day as hundreds of bidders and spectators attending the Paris auction “erupted into applause when the hammer came down,” according to the Bonhams auction house.
Bidding was fierce, Bonhams said, and lasted a full six minutes. The 2013 autographed bike went to “a private European buyer” who was bidding over the telephone.
A leather Harley jacket, also signed by the pope, sold for $77,644 to someone “overseas,” meaning, not in Europe. A pre-bid estimate had put the 110th anniversary special edition XL jacket at between $1,400 and $2,000.
Seems appraisers didn’t factor in how much papal Harley gear was really worth!
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.”
– Bonhams press release
All proceeds will go to benefit the renovation of Caritas Rome’s Fr. Luigi di Liegro shelter and soup kitchen. The auction proceeds should provide the final funding needed for the project, which had been $270,000 short of its target.
Msgr. Enrico Feroci, head of Caritas Rome, told Bonhams:
“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.”