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Pope Benedict’s old VW on the block again

For the second time in two years, a car that once belonged to Pope Benedict XVI is up for sale.
GoldenPalace.com CEO Richard Rowe poses with the second-hand car, once registered in the name of German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the new Pope Benedict XVI, during a presentation in Cologne
Online casino GoldenPalace.com CEO Richard Rowe poses with the 1999 Volkswagen Golf once registered in the name of German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, during a presentation in Cologne, Germany, May 19, 2005.Ina Fassbender / Reuters file
/ Source: Reuters

For the second time in two years, a car that once belonged to Pope Benedict XVI is up for sale.

In May 2005, the online Golden Palace Casino paid almost $250,000 to a 21-year-old German for the gray 1999 Volkswagen Golf, and is now selling it for charity.

The casino said it would donate the proceeds of the auction, which began at the weekend, to the British arm of the aid organization Habitat for Humanity.

On Tuesday, bids on online auction site eBay for the vehicle, which belonged to the pope when he was known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, had passed the $160,000 mark. The auction is due to close on April 10.

Benjamin Halbe, the car’s previous owner, told Reuters he was happy it was on sale for a good cause.

“At first I was surprised, but now I’m excited to see how many bids will be made and how high the price will go,” he said.

The vehicle has changed since Halbe owned it. Golden Palace plastered it with advertising stickers and the words “Pope Benedict Mobile,” as well as a photograph of the pontiff.