By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
ROME, ITALY (ANS) — Since the announcement at the beginning of January that Bonhams auctioneers is to sell Pope Francis’ Harley-Davidson and leather jacket, the news has reached more than 50 countries worldwide and generated more than 500 articles of international news coverage.
A news release stated that to mark the 110th anniversary of the motorcycle brand, Pope Francis was presented with the 1,585cc Harley-Davidson Dyna Super Glide and a motorcycle jacket in June 2013.
This rare and exceptional opportunity to own what was the property of the “People’s Pope” has captured the world’s imagination, generating a huge amount of interest in the items, which are to be auctioned for charity by Bonhams at the Grand Palais in Paris on Feb. 6.
The Sale, which is taking place as part of the capital’s Rétromobile Week, will see the motorcycle and the jacket raise funds for Caritas Roma, which works on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church to support those in need around the world.
They were donated to the charity by Pope Francis, who is famous for his work with the poor and his preference for modest modes of transport. Keeping charity and transport at the forefront of his mind, the Harley-Davidson, which has an estimate of $16,000-$20,000, is to be sold with no reserve in aid of Caritas Roma.
Funds raised by the sale will go towards the renovation of the charity’s Don Luigi di Liegro hostel and soup kitchen based at Rome’s Termini railway station.
The hostel opened 30 years ago to help the homeless, jobless and the poor, and the money raised by the Harley-Davidson’s sale will allow it to continue to provide food and accommodation to more than 1,000 people in need every day.
Signed on the fuel-tank by his Holiness at a special ceremony at the Vatican in November, the machine is offered with a Papal Certificate signed by his Holiness’s personal secretary and a certificate of conformity from Harley-Davidson.
James Knight, group director of the Bonhams motoring department, said: “This is an almost unheard of opportunity to those who wish to support such a worthy cause. In return for supporting the charity, the winning bidder will be the proud owner of a unique and desirable collectors’ item of memorabilia. We have customers who have expressed a desire to own both the motorcycle and jacket, but others with a preference for just one item. It will be interesting to see if both stay together.”
The Harley-Davidson and leather jacket will be sold on Feb. 6 as part of Bonhams’ Les Grandes Marques du Monde sale at the Grand Palais in Paris.
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world’s largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale.