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on December 26, 2001
I saw this huge beautiful book at a store today and nearly bought it on a whim -
even with the $150 price tag. Then I thought I'd check on Amazon
and maybe get it at a discount - no such luck.
They said they don't discount such hard-to-find titles. Well, it's certainly not hard to
find, as it is published by Taschen, and any decent bookstore has plenty of Taschen
books. It is however huge, and expensive, so there's the trouble. Here is some info on the
book directly from the publishers:

Albertus Seba's "Cabinet of Curiosities" is one of the 18th
century's greatest natural history achievements and remains one
of the most prized natural history books of all time.
Though it was common for men of his profession to collect natural
specimens for research purposes, Amsterdam-based pharmacist
Albertus Seba (1665-1736) had a passion that led him far beyond
the call of duty. His amazing, unprecedented collection of animals,
plants and insects from all around the world gained international
fame during his lifetime. In 1731, after decades of collecting, Seba
commissioned illustrations of each and every specimen and
arranged the publication of a four-volume catalog detailing his
entire collection-from strange and exotic plants to snakes, frogs,
crocodiles, shellfish, corals, insects, butterflies and more, as well
as fantastic beasts, such as a hydra and a dragon.
Seba's scenic illustrations, often mixing plants and animals in a
single plate, were unusual even for the time. Many of the stranger
and more peculiar creatures from Seba's collection, some of which
are now extinct, were as curious to those in Seba's day as they
are to us now.
Our superb, complete reproduction is taken from a rare,
hand-colored original. The introduction offers background
information about the fascinating tradition of the cabinet of
curiosities to which Seba's curiosities belonged and an additional
annex, written by contemporary biologists, provides descriptions of
the specimens.

I'll most likely save my dollars until I can buy this without feeling too guilty: By the way - it's 646 pages and about 18 inches high.
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VINE VOICEon August 28, 2002
Let me start off by saying that I'm a huge fan of this book publisher Taschen. If you go to any book store and find yourself flipping through some spectacularly illustrated book that seems very cutting edge, there is a good chance it is a Taschen. Taschen is a company led by Benedikt and Angelika (last name: Taschen!). These people are pure and simple revolutionaries. I've been collecting books for close to 20 years, and it has really only been with the advent of Taschen that I've found myself excited by anything newly published.
This book specifically: Does the price seem a little spendy?? To the contrary. If you buy it you will be so utterly astonished at the imposing size and the overall high quality that you will find it to be the best bargain of your bargain-hunting and book-buying lifespan. This book is a work of art in its own right. The content is fabulous: spectacular color plates that reveal nature as the most creative (if not downright psychedelic) of artists. It truly is amazing to see a display of awe-inspiring bio-diversity documented in this fashion. If you are not an eager advocate for the environment, you very well may become one upon flipping through these pages. It is impossible to not feel affection for these various small and beautiful creatures, and one feels a mandate to recognize their rightful place on the planet when you have them introduced to you in this fashion. I would personally buy a copy of this for George W. Bush if I could rest assured that he would flip through every page if only once. He would have to re-examine his approach to the planet as a result, or he simply is not human.
Okay, one gripe, one mistake I see Taschen making: a book of this magnitude needs a cloth or "buckram" cover, not a mere "finished cardboard" cover. The cover is nicely decorated and textured, but it is essentially of the same quality as a Dr. Suess book. It is the only aspect of the book where Taschen has cut a corner in an obvious attempt to save money. It is sad that they did so. I think Taschen needs to keep the quality of the bindings high and traditional. Taschen content is so innovative and progressive that they don't need to get too clever with the covers. I have another Taschen book with a "shiny cardboard cover"; it appears to be coated with some type of plastic or resin. Already, after only two years or so, it is making creaking noises when you open it. I envision after a few more years those synthetic molecules quite simply giving up and the entire book falling apart in my hands. Taschen, listen up: most of us are happy to spend a few bucks more for top quality all the way across. This "Cabinet of Curiosities" in particular is insulted by the compromise cover. But despite this caveat, I can not imagine any enlightened person being anything other than fully blown-away by this book. It truly doesn't get much better than this in the world of contemporary books.
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on July 5, 2005
This is the perfect gift for an impossible to buy for person. The book is massive in size and content. Filled with interesting drawings of creatures and plants practically every page could be taken from the book and framed. I highly recommend this book to lovers of nature or art. Each time you flip it open you are bound to see something new. Cabinet of curiosities indeed!
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on August 9, 2005
Absolutely beautiful. What's not to like?!! And the price is cheaper than Alibris or anywhere else. Beautiful fold-out poster in the middle of the book. Color copy any page and frame it. It's all beautiful. I'm getting it for my nephew also. It's great for a cautious and curious 5 year-old to learn about bugs, birds, seashells and amphibians.
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on November 27, 2006
This book is an outstanding bargain. It is beautiful and breathtaking. I hadn't read the dimensions of the book before ordering and was really surprised when this 16 pound book arrived in its own cardboard case. The pictures are so gorgeous and some poster sized prints are included -- unfortunately, the images selected for the posters are not the most attractive of Seba's work. Before ordering, I had planned to cut out some of the prints for framing, but I can't bring myself to do that now --this book is just so amazing.
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on July 27, 2006
You have to see this book in person to really appreciate how beautiful it really is. Every single page is filled with excellent drawings of hundreds of animals, plants, seashells, etc. It is absolutly outstanding. Every book lover, or nature lover should add this book to their collection. The price seems expensive but when you see the book it will be the best 140 dollars you have spent in a long time.
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on June 26, 2009
Don't even think about it- buy this one. It is huge and may require its own room but is wonderful in every way. Watch the kids if they want to read it because the fold out pages are tricky, but they will be totally fascinated with the illustrations. I had seen it on coffee tables in dozens of design magazines and finally was curious enough to get out a magnifying glass and check the title. Buy it- you will not be disappointed.
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on April 12, 2008
I first saw this book at a resort we were staying at. I had to have it!! I have never seen a more amazing book. This book is something I believe everyone should own. It is a wonderful teaching tool for young children, an interesting study for adults, an artists dream to have each specimen right there in front of you, an interesting and colorful study of thousands of specimens of sea, land and sky. To think that these were drawings that occured way before the camera was even thought of. Once you see this, you won't believe you lived without it. Don't skimp on this one; buy the Jumbo book and enjoy. Don't forget to order a new coffee table to hold it! ( : You won't be disappointed...ever!! ( :
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on April 25, 2009
This book is beautiful, especially sitting on our coffee table. It appeals to all ages and the pictures are very colorful! The jumbo size of this book is really large; much bigger than any other book I own, which makes it even more appealing to look at. You won't be disappointed.
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on February 9, 2009
I wanted to buy this book for years!Now that I have it, I love to look at it over and over. I give this book to all my friends who work in the design field! They seem to adore it as much as I have. It makes a gorgeous decoupage also!
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