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Pope’s Harley-Davidson gifts raise £250,000 for homeless
06 February 2014 16:17 by Abigail Frymann Rouch

A Harley-Davidson motorcycle and leather jacket given to Pope Francis have sold at auction for almost £250,000 (€299,000), which will be donated to a Rome-based Catholic charity.

Caritas Roma said they would use the money to renovate a 30-year-old hostel and soup kitchen that provides food and accommodation to more than 1,000 people in need every day.

The bike sold at the Paris office of the auctioneer Bonham's today for £200,200 – more than 16 times the estimate of £12,500. The 1,585cc Dyna Super Glide was given to the Pope in June as a gift from Harley-Davidson to mark the company's 110th anniversary. Pope Francis had signed his name "Francis" on the bike’s petrol tank. The leather jacket sold for £47,700.

Ben Walker, the head of motorcycles at Bonhams auction house, said: "It has to be a world record for a twenty-first century Harley-Davidson and certainly for a Harley-Davidson leather jacket."

The director of Caritas Roma, Enrico Feroci, added: "We are delighted with the results of the sale, which far exceeded any of our expectations."