Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2021 Issue

A Book Safe Designed to Protect Your... Donuts?

The book safe (Tim Hortons photo).

Books have been used for the safekeeping of things other than knowledge for centuries. Specifically, we are talking about the book safe. A book safe is a safe that is made to look like a book. Inside, it is hollow and generally can be locked. On the outside, it looks like a book. The idea is to fool would-be thieves into thinking it is a book. Put your cash or valuables inside and then put it on a shelf with hundreds of other books. The would-be thief won't know it is anything other than another book, and even if he is suspicious, he would have no idea which one.

 

So recently, a bakery/restaurant chain began including book safes as part of a Mother's Day promotion. This book safe wasn't intended to hide jewelry or gold. No, it hides something far more valuable – donuts. The Canadian donut, coffee, and other baked items chain, Tim Hortons, began offering these donuts-in-a-book in four stores in Buffalo, Detroit and Columbus. They were offered in the book-box at a price of $5.49 for a half dozen for Mother's Day. The idea is to let Mom hide her donuts from others trying to take advantage of her holiday.

 

I won't call these four stores a “roll out” since Tim Hortons has around 5,000 locations. The majority are in their birthplace, Canada, but the firm crossed the border many years ago, with most U.S. locations in the Northeast or northern Midwest. While the firm has been enormously successful in Canada, by far that country's largest restaurant chain, dwarfing even McDonald's, it has struggled to catch on with quite the same enthusiasm in the United States. Home-grown competitors such as Dunkin Donuts have been a tough donut to crack. Perhaps if this promotion is successful, we will see it back again next year.

 

Looking at that picture, it appears as if this book safe looks quite real. If you are wondering about that title, why “leagues” from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea has been changed to “timbits,” and what is a timbit anyway, you aren't Canadian. Probably everyone in Canada knows, but almost no one in the United States does. A “timbit” is Tim Hortons' word for what we call a donut hole. However, it appears this book safe has not protected anyone's timbits, as what is found therein is six donuts with gaping, unfilled holes in the center.

 

 

*By the way, I know the correct spelling is doughnut, but since just about everyone these days, and more to the point, Tim Hortons, spells it “donut,” that is what they are officially selling. And no, there is no apostrophe for possession in Tim Hortons as you might expect, though the founder was the one and only Tim Horton, not multiple Tim Hortons. Tim Horton was a hockey player, of course. This is Canada. The apostrophe was dropped because that is not how you show the possessive in French, meaning they would have had to have two versions of their signs in keeping with Canada's bilingual requirements. This way, it is equally wrong in each language.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: U.S. / European Shipping Archive 1800-1814. The Widow Bermingham & Sons Collection. €7,000 to €10,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Bunreacht na hÉireann. Constitution of Ireland. An important copy of the First Printing of De Valera’s new Constitution, approved in 1938. Signed by the Constitution Cabinet. €7,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: A Rare Complete Run of the Cuala Press Broadsides. €7,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Grose (Francis). The Antiquities of Ireland, 2vols. folio London (for S. Hooper) 1791. Magnificent Hand-Coloured Copy - Only 25 Copies. €3,000 to €5,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Cantillon (Richard). Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en General, Traduit de l'Anglois, Sm. 8vo London (Fletcher Gyles) 1756. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Gregory, (Lady Augusta). Spreading the News: The Rising of the Moon: The Poorhouse (with Douglas Hyde). Being Vol. IX of the Abbey Theatre Series. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Lavery (Lady Hazel). A moving series of three A.L.S. and a Telegram to Gen. Eoin O'Duffy, July-August 1927, expressing her grief at the death of Kevin O'Higgins. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Dampier (Wm.) Nouveau Voyage Autour du Monde, ou l'on descrit en particulier l'Isthme de l'Amerique…, 2 vols. in one, Amsterdam, 1698. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Howell (James). Instructions for Forreine Travel Shewing by what Cours, and in what Compasse of Time…, London, 1642. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Summer Rare Book
    & Collectors’ Sale
    July 30-31, 2024
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: Rowling (J.K.) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, 8vo, L. (Bloomsbury) 1999, First Edn., First Printing of Deluxe Collectors Edn. Signed. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: James (Wm.) A Full and Correct Account of the Military Occurrences of The Late War Between Great Britain and The United States of America. 2 vols. Lond. 1818. €650 to €900.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, July 30-31: The Laws of the United States, Published by Authority, 3 vols. Philadelphia (Richard Folwell) 1796. €600 to €800.
  • Sotheby’s, July 11: Galileo, Document annotated and signed by Galileo, dated Padua, 1595. £500,000 to £700,000.
  • Bonhams, July 15-25: THE AUTOGRAPH COLLECTION OF ISRAEL WITKOWER. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: GEORGE WASHINGTON SIGNED DISCHARGE. June 9, 1783. $8,000 - $12,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: "Shhhhh!" A DAVID SHANNON ILLUSTRATION FROM DAVID GETS IN TROUBLE. $2,500 - $3,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: PICASSO, PABLO. Le Carmen des Carmen. Paris, 1964. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: RARE AUTOGRAPH OF AMERICAN NAVAL HERO CAPTAIN JAMES MUGFORD. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: KARA WALKER SILHOUETTES FOR TONI MORRISON'S FIVE POEMS. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FIRST APPEARANCE OF PINOCCHIO IN ENGLISH. COLLODI, CARLO.New York, 1892. $2,000 - $3,000
    Bonhams, July 15-25: BONAPARTE, JOSEPHINE. Autograph Note (unsigned) in French. $1,000 - $1,500
    Bonhams, July 15-25: FROST ON MATTHEW ARNOLD.Autograph Letter Signed to Adams, July 27, 1934. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: ELIAS BOUDINOT'S COPY OF BARLOW'S COLUMBIAN EPIC. $800 - $1,200
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A SIGNED HART CRANE BROOKLYN BRIDGE POSTCARD TO EDWARD DAHLBERG. $600 - $800
    Bonhams, July 15-25: A STOCK CERTIFICATE SIGNED BY THE "QUEEN OF WALL STREET," HETTY GREEN. $700 - $900

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