Pope Francis' Holy Hog hauls in R3.7m

Paris, France - A Harley-Davidson motorcycle was sold at auction on Thursday for almost 20 times its estimated value - because its previous owner was the pope.

Signed “Francesco” on its tank, the 2013 Dyna Super Glide sold for €241 500 (R3.7 million), with a Harley-Davidson leather jacket, also signed by the pope, going for €57 500 (R860 000), each to an anonymous bidder

Auction officers talk with telephone bidders during the auction of the 2013 Harley-Davidson Dyna Super Glide Custom belonging to Pope Francis at the Grand Palias in Paris. Picture: Jacques Brinon. Credit: AP

Ben Walker, head of motorcycles at auction house Bonhams, said: “This has to be a world record for a 21st century Harley-Davidson and certainly for a Harley-Davidson leather jacket.”

The bike had a pre-sale estimate of €12 000 - €15 000 (R180 000 - R225 000).

The items were presented to the head of the Roman Catholic Church in June 2013 by the maker to mark the Motor Company’s 110th anniversary.

In line with his focus on the poor, and his preference for modest modes of transport - he used to take public transport as a cardinal in Buenos Aires - Francis donated the Super Glide to Catholic charity Caritas after signing it at a special ceremony at the Vatican in November.

The proceeds will go towards the renovation of a hostel and soup kitchen based at Rome's Termini railway station.