Not your average secret secret compartment inside a book box, this one I believe is French and quite old. I have found one other out there done in a very similar manner listed at $1800 and described as dating to the 1700’s; I am not certain on the date, but the three leather bound books here are 18th/early 19th c. Their pages were glued together and pressed, allowing the center section to be hollowed out, with the compartments lined in leather, a square shelf inside one, and two straps in the other. The books themselves are a French history of the Russian Empire, "Theologia Universa," and a third the title of which is too worn to read. I especially like that the pages of the three together comprise the red, white and blue of the French flag (adopted 1794). Really wonderfully constructed and special feeling, and certainly useful now for stashing all sorts of valuable things.
7 1/16" x 4 7/16" x 4 1/8" d and in excellent structural condition, not at all fragile, wonderful patina. Wear to the leather on the spines as evident, all to the good in my opinion. One of the interior straps (I assume made to hold bottles or glasses) has a split in it.