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Pope's Harley-Davidson auctioned for nearly $329,000

Feb. 6, 2014 at 2:01 PM

PARIS, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- A Harley-Davidson motorcycle owned and autographed by Pope Francis was sold at auction for nearly $329,000 in Paris Thursday, the Bonhams auction house said.

The 2013 Dyna Super Glide, a gift to the pope from the American manufacturer when it celebrated its 110th anniversary with a convocation of motorcyclists in Rome, was part of a show of vintage vehicles at Paris' Grand Palais.

The pope never rode the motorcycle but signed his name to the fuel tank, increasing the price by a factor of as much as 10 times the estimated value of 12,000 to 15,000 euros ($16,312 to $20,390), Bonhams said.

It sold to an unidentified bidder for 241,500 euros ($328,236).

"It attracted an awful lot of interest. It (the winning bid) has to be a world record for a 21st century Harley-Davidson," said Ben Walker, head of Bonham's' motorcycle collectors' department.

The pope will give the proceeds from the sale to the Catholic charity Caritas to help restore the Don Luigi homeless hostel and soup kitchen in Rome, the Italian news agency ANSA reported Thursday.

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