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A Brief History of Coin Magic
Magicians have been making coins disappear and teleport for about as long as coins themselves have existed. Among the most famous coin magicians of recent years are David Roth, T. Nelson Downs, Dai Vernon, and Allan Shaw. Roth, in particular, is considered a pioneer within contemporary coin magic and is the subject of the book David Roth’s Expert Coin Magic by Richard Kaufman.
Magic Coin Trick 1: How to Make a Coin Disappear
One of the mainstays of magic is making objects disappear. Here’s a way to do it with a coin.
- Sit down at a table with a coin in your hand.
- Present the coin to your audience, and tell them your trick will be making it change colors by rubbing it on your arm. This is intended to mislead them; it’s not the real trick.
- Take the coin and place it in your right hand. (If you’re a lefty, place it in your left hand and reverse all the directions going forward.) As you do this, take the elbow of your other arm and place it on the table, resting your chin on your left hand, which should be closed into a loose fist.
- The coin is still in your right hand. Rub that hand against your left forearm in order to “change its color.”
- Then “accidentally” drop the coin on the table. This should seem to your audience like you made a mistake. Acknowledge the mistake and talk about it. The idea is to distract them and keep them from looking at your hands… which are about to be busy.
- Pick up the coin with your left hand (ie. the one you’d previously been resting your chin on). Make sure your audience doesn’t see you do this. One way to fake them out is to let them see you pick it up, but make it strongly look like you transferred it into your right hand. Or you could actually pick it up with your right hand, but let it drop into your left hand under the table.
- Then resume rubbing the coin against your arm—but of course, the coin isn’t really in your right hand at this point. Announce that you can feel the trick working this time, and the coin is changing colors, all the way to… invisible.
- Open your right hand, and reveal that the coin has completely disappeared.
- Some people might want to see your left hand to make sure the coin isn’t in there. You can plan for this by dropping the coin down your collar when the audience is focused on your right hand reveal.
- Boom. The coin has disappeared.
Magic Coin Trick 2: How to Make a Coin Teleport From One Hand to Another
Audiences love magicians who can make an object move from one place to another. Here’s how to do it with a coin:
- Hold up a coin and announce to your audience that you’ll be making it transport from one hand to another. Boast a little. If you concoct an entertaining story, it lowers their guard and makes them less scrutinous of your hands—which are your real tools for this trick.
- Place the coin in the palm of one hand and close it into a fist. But as you do this, position the coin such that it slides into a gap between your index and middle fingers. You’ll need it there to eventually drop the coin out of your hand entirely.
- Briskly move your hands over each other. But when you do, let the coin drop from one hand to another. Close the other hand into a fist as you feel the coin drop in. (This step will take a lot of practice; the coin needs to drop unseen, even when your audience is focused on your hands.) Talking a lot and engaging them in a story will make the manual transfer easier.
- Ask your audience if they’re ready to see you do the coin transfer trick. In other words, they shouldn’t realize that you’ve already done the transfer. Make it seem like the big act is still yet to come.
- When the audience says “yes, they are ready,” ask them to re-establish what hand the coin is starting out in. They should point to your initial hand. You can agree that the coin is in there, but when you open your fist to confirm… the coin is already gone.
- Open your other hand. The coin is already in there. So the transfer happened before anyone even realized the trick had begun!
Magic Coin Trick 3: Step-by-Step How to Do a Psychic Coin Trick
Once you’ve made a coin disappear and magically change hands, tell your audience that you also have magical mental powers.
- PRE-TRICK: Select a coin where each side—heads and tails—feels distinct against your skin. In other words, you should be able to feel whether you’re touching heads or tails without even looking at the coin.
- PRE-TRICK: On your own time, practice flipping the coin, catching it in your hand, and flipping it over to be seen. During the catching/flipping portion, practice feeling the actual coin with your curved fingertips. You need to be tacitly recognizing it while keeping your eyes focused on your audience.
- You’re now ready to start the trick. Find a friend, and ask him or her to study the coin in their own hands to establish that it’s legit. Then take it back and start flipping it. Ask them to predict what face of the coin will come up. While they’re talking, slow down your process of presenting the coin—this is ostensibly to hear their prediction, but it’s really so you can feel the face of the coin with your thumb.
- Right before you flip the coin over, make your own prediction. Because you could feel the coin’s face with your thumb while your friend was busy predicting, you already know which side will be face up, and you’ll correctly guess it every time.
- You can do this trick over and over again—with both you and your friend guessing what face of the coin will appear. The odds say your friend will get it right one out of every two times, since there are only two options. But you, with your tactile techniques, will get it right every single time, and the audience will quickly take note of your skill.
- You can keep this trick going for as long as you like. The key is to keep the chatter going with your friend who’s predicting the coin flips alongside you. The more you draw them into your story, the less focused they will be on your hands. This is a good general rule for pretty much any coin or card trick.
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