Pope Francis Harley-Davidson Sells for $280,000 at Auction

Michael Walker

Proceeds from the sale of the Dyna Super Glide, which is autographed by the pontiff, will benefit a Catholic charity in Rome.

Pope Francis has done it again.

The "cool" people's pontiff offered up his Harley-Davidson at auction at the Grand Palais in Paris today and the gavel went down at a whopping €210,000 ($280,000) -- 10 times its official estimate -- benefiting Caritas Roma, a Catholic charity for the poor in Rome.

The winning bid "exceeded everyone’s expectations," said Ben Walker, head of motorcycles at the London auction house Bonhams, which hosted the sale.

"You can buy this bike for €16,000 -- that's the intrinsic value of the machine -- but this one belonged to Pope Francis," Walked added.

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The anonymous winning bidder was described by Walker as "a European gentleman."

Harley-Davidson gave the 1,585 cc Dyna Super Glide to His Holiness last summer, who blessed the bike and autographed the gas tank "Francesco" in silver Sharpie.

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Since the pontiff famously eschews limousines and bulletproof papal cars -- preferring public transportation or his secondhand 1984 Renault 4 -- he donated the Harley to Caritas Roma, which entrusted Bonhams with its sale. The proceeds will benefit the renovation of the charity's main shelter and soup kitchen, Don Luigi di Liegro.

Unfortunately, the bike could not be driven home after the auction.

"At the moment, we actually don't have the keys for it," Walker admitted.