Magic Trick: The Peripatetic Coins

Even with a more simple name, this would be a remarkably good, clever trick. So good and so clever that it has puzzled a number of professional conjurers.

To begin it the performer borrows four silver dollars, and a man's silk hat, or, on a pinch, a derby. The coins are thrown visibly and beyond question into the hat, which is held in one hand, while in the other is a drinking glass. In spite of the distance between these the performer causes the coins, one at a time and invisibly, to pass from the hat into the tumbler. That the coins are the same is susceptible of proof, for they may be marked in any way the audience may choose, so as to be readily identified.

Very little preparation is needed for the trick. To begin, the performer has a fifth coin of his own. In this a tiny hole is drilled just near the edge, and into this hole is tied one end of a piece of fine sewing silk about 20 inches long, more or less, according to the length of the performer's arm. To the other end of this silk is attached a small, black pin, bent about the center so as to make a hook. This is fastened to the outside of the coatsleeve under the left arm, near the arm pit. The coin is tucked away in the waistcoat pocket until needed.

While the performer is borrowing the coins from the audience, he has every opportunity to take out the prepared coin and hold it, unseen, in his closed left hand. The borrowed coins he collects in his right hand, and, when he has four, transfers them to the left hand. Then the two hands are brought together. The forefinger of the left hand goes under the top coin, and with the help of the left thumb the piece is pushed into the hollow of the right hand, where it is "palmed."

Let it be said here, parenthetically, that tricks with coins and with cards may best be understood by following the directions of the several moves with the coins or other articles in the hands.

The coin in the palm, as here described, may be held easily without being detected, if the back of the hand is kept toward the audience and the whole hand is held as if relaxed, which is its natural position.

The other four coins are spread fanwise in the left hand. The right hand now picks up the hat by the rim, while the left hand throws the four coins deliberately into the hat. In doing this, it is well to begin with the prepared coin, letting it drop from as great distance as the thread will permit. The three other coins may be tossed in the air, one at a time, and allowed to drop into the hat, the better to deceive the audience.

As soon as all the coins are inside, the hat is transferred to the left hand, the fingers inside and the thumb on the brim, care being taken that the thread comes between the fingers. The audience may even be allowed to look into the hat, but in this case its lining must be black, otherwise the thread might be seen.

The hat is now held away from the left side, and this movement will draw the prepared coin up under the fingers, where it is held against the sweat band.

Fig. 93

The performer now picks up a goblet, and holding it so that the palm of the right hand is directly over its mouth, he cries "Pass!" and relaxing the muscles of the thumb, the coin drops into the glass.

The money in the glass is thrown out on the table, and three coins are taken out of the hat, which is held, mouth toward the audience, to show that it is empty.

The hat is placed on the table, and the dollar which has passed is replaced in the goblet.

Taking the three coins from the table in his right hand, the performer, as before, transfers them to the left hand, "palms" one, and goes through the routine already described. In this way he continues until only one coin remains.

This coin the performer picks up with the tips of his second and forefinger and thumb of his right hand, and as that hand moves toward the left the second finger closes down on the coin and leaves it resting on the right hand palm, held, as already told, by contracting the muscles of the ball of the thumb. Almost at the same moment, the tips of the fingers and thumb come together, and are placed in the left hand. They are instantly withdrawn, the fingers wide apart, and the left hand is opened, showing the prepared coin. The audience will believe it to be the coin seen a moment before in the right hand fingers.

The prepared coin is thrown in the hat; again the hat is taken up with the left hand and made to "pass" to the goblet which holds the three coins.

The coins are carried to their owners who identify them, and the performer, who, in the meantime, has pocketed the prepared coin, retires, bowing his acknowledgments of the applause he has earned.

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