Misanthropic rants, illustration, paleontology, art, fantasy, childish wonders, esoterica, and the occasional otaku culture nonsense
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Spiders of Japan
My visit to a hobby shop was a total bust in terms of Safari figures, so I stopped by the neighboring used bookstore. Found a really good hardback copy of this book for cheap, and picked up something else
原色日本蜘蛛類大図鑑(Spiders of Japan in Colour),八木沼健夫著 (Takeo Yaginuma) 1968 reprinted in 1971, Hoikusha Publishing, Osaka
Paid $6 and the price tag says 'As Is' but aside from apparent humidity/water damage and wear on the slipcover and a bit of the dust jacket being damaged on one corner, I couldn't find anything wrong with the book itself. Several inserts were intact inside the back cover including an errata sheet which was hand-corrected to add a missing note, by someone fluent in writing katakana.
More curiously I'm trying to figure out if this book was autographed, because I can't see any good reason why someone would randomly write the author's name in the front cover. This is interesting for a couple of reasons:
1. Takeo Yaginuma was apparently a very influential arachnologist (the learned gentlemen is no longer with us in the land of the living, as of 1995) who has a genus of Salticidae (Yaginumanis) named after him. His collection of spiders is held by the Osaka Museum of Natural History.
2. Searching for this book reveals a few copies for sale on Amazon US and UK and also at another bookseller site, none for under $95. I have no idea if my copy is worth that much but I have a sense it is probably worth more than $6 even with a creased dust jacket and no deceased author autograph.
I have no idea how to find out this information and my Japanese is too bad for me to ask someone in whatever obscure Japanese forums might know something like this... All that aside, I didn't know any of it when I bought the book. I just immediately realized it was a beautifully illustrated and awesome book that I'd enjoy owning anyway.