A Greek papyrus fragment of the Gospel of John is being auctioned off on eBay. This papyrus is currently not catalogued in the official list of New Testament manuscripts. According to the eBay listing, the papyrus is from the manuscript collection of Harold R. Willoughby, an early 20th century biblical scholar who taught at the University of Chicago. Willoughby published quite a bit as a scholar, and his interest in Christian manuscripts is evidenced by his publication on Codex 2400, a Byzantine New Testament manuscript belonging to the Goodspeed collection in Chicago. According to the description on eBay, Willoughby was a colleague of Edgar Goodspeed, who was also a biblical scholar at Chicago:
“Very rare ancient papyrus fragment in Greek, John I 50-51 in it’s original display glass and sleeve. This is part of the MS collection of Harold R. Willoughby, who did extensive research with Edgar Goodspeed. Mr. Willoughby was a world traveler, and well-known professor of Theology at the University of Chicago. At the time of his death, he had a library of over 3500 rare bibles. This case with fragment, literally fell out of a stack of letters. I'm sure it was tucked away for security. Mr. Willoughby was a relative, and I attest this info to be true. Good luck bidding on a very rare piece with no reserve.”
I know nothing about Willoughby’s collection, but a paper note accompanying the auction lists several other items of interest. According to this inventory, the eBay papyrus is one of three Greek New Testament manuscripts. I cannot locate these manuscripts in the official list of New Testament manuscripts (the Kurzgefasste Liste), so I assume these others are “new” manuscripts as well.
Some remaining questions are: Where did this papyrus come from? Was it bought by Willoughby in the early 20th century? If so, from whom and from where? I would kindly ask that if anyone knows more about this papyrus or any other manuscripts from Willoughby's collection they contact me directly. Also, I would be more than grateful to learn where this papyrus ends up, after it is sold. I would encourage also the buyer to contact me directly so that I can learn more about the papyrus' future and perhaps the willingness on the part of the owner to disseminate further details about it.
The following description of the papyrus is made on the basis of the image provided on eBay.
The fragmentary papyrus contains 6 partial lines of text written with the fibers (-->). There are several strips of adhesive (front and back) that are presumably keeping the fragment in place. The image also shows two smaller, isolated fragments bearing ink but their placement is uncertain. The fragments are framed in between glass along with a card of identification that reads “John I, 50-51.” Presumably, there is writing only on one side, since there is no image of the other side and the card identifies text only on the front. If it is indeed written only on on side, then this would be very odd for a Greek New Testament papyrus. Normally, literary texts that are written on one side of a sheet of papyrus means that it is probably from a roll and not a codex. But in fact, none of the extant Greek New Testament papyri come from a roll (P22 is a question mark here). Thus, while the papyrus does bear witness to the text of the New Testament, we cannot rule out the possibility that it may be a fragment of an amulet—again, assuming that there is no text on the other side. In fact, two amulets cite passages from the immediate context. P.Berl. inv. 11710 cites John 1:49 and P.Vindob. G 2312 cites John 2:1-2. But we must suspend judgment about this matter until we can confirm that the other side is indeed blank. [Update: The seller has uploaded (rather shoddy) images of the other side confirming that there is writing; nomen sacrum is visible.]
The image is sufficient enough to attempt an analysis of the handwriting. The letters slope slightly to the right, are separated, undecorated, and roughly bilinear. The middle element of ψ descends well below the line, the oblique of ν connects high up on the second hasta, ο is small, the saddle of μ low. There is little contrast between thick and thin strokes, and punctuation and tremata are absent. This is a good example of what C.H. Roberts described as a “reformed documentary” hand and it exhibits many features typical of papyri that have been dated palaeographically to the 3rd-4th centuries. P.Oxy. 1079 (P18, 3rd-4th century) is a good example of this type of hand (cf., in particular, ν, ο, ε). While all palaeographical dating is inevitably tentative, the general impression of the handwriting suggests a date of 3rd-4th century.
The text is from John 1:50-51. I have provided a provisional transcript below in both diplomatic and full forms.
3: It is not clear whether the papyrus reads μείζω (NA28) or μείζων (P75 037 579 1424 l 2211).
4: ὑμῖν ὄψεσθε follows the text of NA28 along with P66 P75 01 03 020 032s over against the reading ἀπ' ἄρτι found in many manuscripts whose scribes harmonized to Matt. 26:64 (including 02 017 036 037 038 Maj et al.).
5: Oddly, the scribe wrote the nomen sacrum θεοῦ in scriptio plena; cf. l. 6.
6: There is a faint trace of a supralinear stroke above the ν of υἱόν. ἀνθρώπου is also abbreviated.
–: The text appears to read καί τῇ τρίτῃ [ἡμέρᾳ], which is attested in some manuscripts (03 038 f13) over against the wider tradition.
 Harold R. Willoughby, “Codex 2400 and its Miniatures,” Art Bulletin 15.1 (1933): 3-74 (with 77 plates).