National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Bike owned by Pope Francis sells for 25 times its value

  • This Harley-Davidson Dyna Super Glide motorcycle, donated to Pope Francis in June, is displayed Wednesday as part of Bonham's Les Grandes Marques du Monde vintage and classic cars sale in Paris. Signed "Francesco" on its tank, was auctioned for charity Thursday in Paris. (CNS/Reuters/Benoit Tessier)
  • Pope Francis receives a leather Harley-Davidson jacket during his June 12 weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. (CNS/Reuters/L'Osservatore Romano)
Rome

As investments go, this was a good one.

A Harley-Davidson motorcycle briefly owned by Pope Francis sold Thursday for $325,000, more than 25 times the Kelley Blue Book resale value for a similar bike.

Chalk it up to the so-called "Francis effect" -- credited for everything from increased church attendance in Italy to a surge of tourists arriving in Rome from the pope's native Argentina. Now, evidently, it dramatically changes the value of objects the pope once owned.

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"It's a record for a post-vintage 21st century motorbike," said a spokesman for Bonhams-France, the Paris-based auction house that sold the 2013 1585cc Dyna Super Glide bike as part of a wider auction that includes classic sports cars and stately Rolls-Royces.

Francis never rode the bike, which was a gift from Harley-Davidson last summer to mark the company's 110-year anniversary. But he did sign it before donating it to the Rome-based chapter of the Catholic charity Caritas, which will use the money to refurbish the group's charity hostel as well as a soup kitchen the group runs from Rome's main train station.

The pope's golden touch is not limited to vehicles: Bonhams-France said a Harley-Davidson leather jacket, given to the pope along with the motorbike, sold for more than $75,000. The buyers for the motorbike and the jacket were not identified.

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