Harley-Davidson motorcycle blessed with the signature of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Estimate: US$ 19,000 – 31,000. Image courtesy of Bonhams
PARIS, FRANCE— There is great expectation in Paris and among motorcycle collectors about the Bonhams’ Les Grandes Marques du Monde sale at the Grand Palais in Paris on February 5, 2015. A major highlight of the auction is a Harley-Davidson motorcycle blessed with the signature of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and later received by Pope Francis. Estimated at €15,000-25,000 (£11,700-19,600), it is expected that the Harley-Davidson motorcycle will engender a bidding war among motorcycle collectors across the globe.
The Harley-Davidson motorcycle signed by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has an interesting provenance that began with Harley-Davidson’s 110th anniversary celebrations. In anticipation of the celebration, two commemorative motorcycle petrol tanks were presented to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI for his signature. After appending his signature, the petrol tanks were returned to the motorcycle legends US headquarters where they were mounted to their respective motorcycles. One of the motorcycles, the FLSTC 103 Heritage Softail Classic was to be presented to the Pope in a special ceremony in front of tens-of thousands of Harley-Davidson riders at 2013s 110th anniversary celebration. However, in an unforeseen change to the papacy, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI abdicated in January 2013. Subsequently, the Softail Classic was presented to the newly inaugurated Pope, his holiness Pope Francis.
The FLSTC 103 Heritage Softail Classic Harley-Davidson with the signature of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is the one destined for the Bonhams 2015 sale in Paris. The other one remains in the Harley-Davidson museum in Milwaukee, USA. Ben Walker, International Director for Bonhams said Bonhams is delighted to be selling this historical Harley-Davidson motorcycle. “It’s an honour to have been selected to sell this fantastic machine. We expect a lot of interest, and hope to raise some spirited bidding for the very worthy charity selected,” he said.
This is not the first time the auction house will be making such an important sale of special Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Ben Walker reiterates: “In February 2014, Bonhams sold 1,585cc Harley-Davidson Dyna Super Glide signed by His Holiness Pope Francis. Now we’re delighted to offer a motorcycle received by both Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI; it was present during a pivotal period in the papacy of the Catholic Church, and we expect a lot of interest in it.”
Entered at no reserve, the auction proceeds from this unique Harley-Davidson motorcycle blessed with the signature of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will be donated to Stowarzyszenie Przyjazny Świat Dziecka (Friendly World Association), a Polish volunteer, independent, non-profit organization that offers care and support to children and families in need.