Stoke & Staffordshire

Harley Davidson signed by Pope fetches £42,000 in Stafford

Harley Davidson Image copyright Bonhams
Image caption The bike had been expected to sell for between £50,000 and £100,000

A gold-plated Harley Davidson motorbike signed by Pope Francis has fetched £42,000 at auction.

The bike - dubbed a "Holy Davidson" by auctioneers Bonhams - was created in Würzburg, Germany, for the Jesus Bikers group in Austria.

It was then handed over to the Pontifical Mission Societies.

The proceeds of the sale will be used to build an orphanage and a school in Uganda and to provide shelter for abandoned and deprived children.

The bike, known as the "White Unique" - had been expected to sell for between £50,000 and £100,000 at the auction on Sunday in Stafford.

A similar bike raised £208,399 in 2014.

Image copyright Vatican & Jesus Biker
Image caption The motorcycle was signed by Pope Francis in St Peter's Square in July

Bonhams said the 1,570cc bike was finished in pearlescent white, with Mexican American-style detailing, gold-plated components, a sunken cross and the papal signature on the tank.

The machine was created at the suggestion of Dr Thomas Draxler, founder of the Jesus Bikers group, to be donated to the Pontifical Mission Societies, the official support for Catholic overseas missions.

After it was customised by Würzburg Village it was taken to the Vatican in a convoy by the Jesus Bikers to be signed by His Holiness in a ceremony in St Peter's Square in July.

James Stensel, head of Bonhams Collectors' Motorcycles UK, called it an "incredible machine", adding: "We are incredibly proud to be entrusted with the sale of this unique motorcycle, set to benefit such an important cause."

Image copyright Bonhams
Image caption The machine was created at the suggestion of the founder of the Jesus Bikers group

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