Magic Trick: Coin Trick 7

The trick I am now about to describe will, I have no doubt, be known to many of my readers; but I ask no excuse for giving it here, as those who can claim a previous acquaintanceship with the trick will, perhaps, here learn a wrinkle or two worth knowing: Borrow a handkerchief. When I say "borrow a handkerchief," I do not mean simply borrow one without any comment. On the contrary, make a great fuss about never using your own handkerchief, &c.; and be particular to hand round all borrowed articles for inspection, to show that you "have no confederates." By making your audience thoroughly sick of looking at borrowed articles, they are more likely to pass over anything of your own that will not bear minute examination. This should be borne well in mind. Spread the handkerchief out upon the table, and place a coin, not heavier or larger than a shilling (borrowed and marked), in the centre of it. Beneath the nail of the middle finger of the right hand (which hand is immaterial, but for the purpose of illustration it is necessary to use the terms " right" and "left") you have a small piece of bees' wax (on no account cobblers' wax) which you have previously made tolerably adhesive by working it about. Place this finger on the coin, saying, "Now, in order that all may see that I do not for one instant move the coin from its position, I place this finger upon it," and, taking up one of the corners of the handkerchief in the other hand, fold it over the coin so as to well cover it, and press it down hard, allowing the wax to come off on the coin, and to cause a mutual adherence between it and the handkerchief. Fold the remaining three corners over one another with great deliberation, exhibiting a portion of the coin each time, to show that there is "no cheating." When all four corners are folded over, the handkerchief will still be in the shape of a square, but of course much smaller than it was at the commencement, and it will have an aperture running from the centre to each corner. Note the portion of the handkerchief to which the coin is stuck, and place the two hands, side by side, in the aperture formed by this portion and the one next to it (Fig. 12). If the hands are now separated briskly, and the sides of the handkerchief allowed to slide through the fingers, it stands to reason that, the coin being fast to the corner of the handkerchief, it will, when the corner is reached, find its way into the hand. The handkerchief must be shaken hard, as soon as the coin is safe in the hand, for effect. The operations of opening the handkerchief and shaking it must be practised until they can be compassed both smoothly and quickly in one movement. The trick is easy, but requires some little practice. Common soap is an excellent substitute for wax, but it has the disadvantage of being less portable. The beauty of the wax is that it can be so easily concealed beneath the nail, and comes off the coin cleanly. The coin successfully vanished from the handkerchief, it rests with the performer to reproduce it in what manner he pleases. If he has already found coins in the heads of the audience, the reproduction can be varied. For instance, if a tiny piece of wax be affixed to the flat end of the wand, and that end brought into contact with the coin whilst in the palm, and a little pressure used, the coin will adhere. Then, if the wand be passed rapidly behind a curtain, or inside the coat of one of the audience, a great effect can be caused by slowly producing the vanished article from its supposed place of concealment at the end of the wand. The trick can be further prolonged by having about 15in. of human hair, with a tiny bead of wax at the end, affixed to a waistcoat button. Affix the coin to the waxed end, and place it in a wineglass, in which it can be easily made to dance by slightly moving the glass or depressing the hair with the wand, which is supposed to be beating time. Such a combination of tricks, each one easy in itself, affords invaluable practice to the beginner. The conjuror, like the chess-player, must always see, in his mind's eye, two or three moves ahead, so that no hitch or hesitation occurs. For example, the instant the coin reaches the hand from the handkerchief, it must be palmed, the wand taken up, and the handkerchief ostentatiously given round for inspection to show that there is no hole in it, or for any other plausible reason. Perhaps you will only gain five seconds by this, but that is time enough to enable you to press the wand against the coin. You must not, after this, allow the least pause to occur, but at once seize someone, and have your wand inside his coat before he knows what you are about; for it must be remembered that, if the action is noticed, the coin will be noticed too, as it is in a tolerably conspicuous position at the end of the wand. Then, whilst you are rating the individual soundly for having endeavoured to spoil your trick by concealing the coin, and drawing universal attention to him, one hand will be busily employed in pressing the waxed end of the hair against the coin. The trick of dancing a coin in a glass is so well known that no one with any desire for a reputation as a prestidigitateur would introduce it by itself; but, in the illustration I have just given, the coin has been in such a variety of places and situations, that the idea of its being fixed to anything does not enter the minds of the audience. Half-a-minute's dancing is quite sufficient, and at the end of it the attention of the audience must be at once drawn into another groove by your showing the coin to be the veritable one marked some time since, the wax being removed by a finger nail.

Fig. 12.

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