BIBLE, Latin. [Mainz: Johann Gutenberg and Johann Fust, 1455].
Royal 2o (388 x 280 mm). Single leaf: vol. II, fol. 264 (II:27/3), containing II Corinthians 7:7-10:7. 42 lines, double column. Type: 1:140G. Three two-line Lombard initials supplied in red or blue, headlines and chapter numbers in alternating red and blue letters, capital strokes in red. Blind cross-hatching in the margins marking locations of initials. Printed on Bull's Head paper, the watermark in this half of the sheet. (Slight darkening at extreme upper edge, narrow remnant of tissue hinge along spine edge.) Detached from and laid into: A Noble Fragment: Being a leaf of the Gutenberg Bible, with a bibliographical essay by A. Edward Newton. New York: Gabriel Wells, 1921. Dark blue morocco by Stikeman and Co. (slight wear to head- and tailcaps); dark blue paper-covered slipcase (chipped, frayed at corners, splitting at one edge).
Provenance: Maria Elisabeth Augusta von Sulzbach (1721-1794, wife of Carl Theodore, Electoral Prince of the Palatinate, subsequently Electoral Prince of Bavaria) -- Mannheim, Hofbibliothek -- Munich, Royal Library (their duplicate sale, 1832, sold for 350 guilders) -- Robert Curzon, Baron Zouche (1810-1873, and by descent until sold) -- Sotheby's 9 November 1920, lot 70, to Joseph Sabin; sold by him to -- Gabriel Wells, who broke up the copy, dispersing it in single leaves, many of them accompanied by A. Edward Newton's essay, as here, and in larger fragments.
H 3031*; BMC I, 17 (IC. 55); BSB-Ink. B-408; CIBN B-361; DeRicci/Mayence 53 (=78); GW 4201; Paul Needham, "The Paper Supply of the Gutenberg Bible," Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, vol. 79, no. 3, 1985, Appendix B, Census of Copies, P18; Don Cleveland Norman, The 500th Anniversary Pictorial Census of the Gutenberg Bible, Chicago 1961, pp. 253-258; Pr 56; Goff B-526.
Eyebrow hair, 12 mm, COMPLETE with bulb at one end and natural taper at the other, blond or white, [middle of the 15th century]. Soiled with printer's ink over a segment approximately 2 mm in length.
Provenance: The present hair was formerly adhered to the surface of this leaf of the Gutenberg Bible, where it was held to the paper by the printing ink. It lay under the ink when the leaf was received by Christie's and was inadvertently dislodged in the course of cataloguing for this sale. The impression left by the hair in the surface of the paper is clearly visible at II Cor. 7:10, as is the furrow of white across the first letter "t" of the word tristitia, where the ink which lay over the hair came off with it.
The hair must have dropped onto the forme after it was inked and before the page was printed. It is therefore presumably a body hair, probably an eybrow hair, from one of the pressmen in Gutenberg's shop -- conceivably from the master himself. (2)