To be honest, a headline that I never thought that I would write - EVER! But it’s true.
Back in June 2013, Harley Davidson presented a 1,585 cc Harley Davidson Dyna Super Glide to Pope Francis to mark the motorcycle brand's 110th anniversary (along with another bike that the Pontiff has decided to keep – possibly for zooming around the Vatican keeping a close eye on his flock?)
But now Pope Francis, who actually chose the name Francis after Francis of Assisi (a ‘man of poverty’) has decided to give it away to raise funds for a charity – and the Harley Davidson is worth around £12,500.
In fact, it may well go for more because the Pope has signed it "Francesco" on the tank, so Caritas Roma, a charity working on behalf of the Church who will be using the money raised to help renovate the charity's Don Luigi di Liegro hostel and soup kitchen (based in Rome's central Termini train station) can be sure of great interest in the bike when it goes under the hammer at the Grand Palais in Paris on February 6 as part of Bonham's Les Grandes Marques du Monde sale.
The Pontiff may well have signed it (actually at a special ceremony at the Vatican back in November) but he probably hasn’t ridden it, given his predilection for the simple things in life and more modest modes of transport so, as Ben Walker, head of motorcycles at Bonhams, said: "I suspect that it will (have) a very limited mileage."
For the more stylish people at the auction, there will also be a Harley Davidson leather jacket that also bears the Pope's signature that will be sold immediately after the motorcycle.
It may amaze people that the Head of the Catholic Church is associated with the bike brand, but not only is he a humble and simple man who seems to be continually looking out for the poorer elements of society, he is also a man of the people, as his blessing of a crowd of Hell’s Angel bikers in a congregation at an open mass in St Peter’s Square 4 days after he received the bikes showed.
It’s not the first papal vehicle to be sold in order to raise money (Pope Benedict owned a Volkswagen Golf that was sold back in 2005 to a German man, who promptly sold it to a Las Vegas club once he discovered just who it had belonged to!) but Ben Walker is pleased that his company has been chosen to sell the bike.
“We are incredibly honoured to be selling this item on behalf of Caritas Roma. We hope to be able to do both Pope Francis and Harley-Davidson proud by raising a significant amount of money for a very worthy cause.”