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Self-Working Coin Magic: 92 Foolproof Tricks

Self-Working Coin Magic: 92 Foolproof Tricks

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by Karl Fulves, Joseph K. Schmidt (Other)

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Money and magic — a combination that never fails to attract attention! With this helpful and revealing book, even novices can astound friends and relatives with mystifying magical feats requiring little more than common coins and paper currency.
Written by one of today's foremost authorities on self-working magic tricks (those that need no special


Money and magic — a combination that never fails to attract attention! With this helpful and revealing book, even novices can astound friends and relatives with mystifying magical feats requiring little more than common coins and paper currency.
Written by one of today's foremost authorities on self-working magic tricks (those that need no special dexterity or long hours of practice), this how-to book features an impressive array of 92 simple-to-do tricks sure to dazzle any audience.
Clearly worded instructions and 251 illustrations show beginning as well as veteran conjurers how to pluck a seemingly endless number of coins from the air, make a coin penetrate a tabletop, and perform psychic tricks with coins and bills. "Quick Print" lets you apparently print a genuine $5 bill on blank paper, while "Bunco Bills" takes the audience behind the scenes to expose the methods of the shortchange artist. Other intriguing illusions include "Metal Bending," "Tower of Nickels," "Balancing Act," "Thru the Ring," "Immovable Object," "Sealed-Box Mystery," and dozens of other phenomenal tricks.
No previous experience is necessary to perform these tricks and apart from the required currency, most call for nothing more than a few easy-to-find items (tabletop, cup, handkerchief, playing cards, etc.). Almost all can be mastered in a short time.

Product Details

Dover Publications
Publication date:
Dover Magic Books Series
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Product dimensions:
5.48(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.32(d)
Age Range:
10 Years

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Read an Excerpt


92 Foolproof Tricks

By Karl Fulves, Joseph K. Schmidt

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 1989 Karl Fulves
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-15663-7



Coin magic can be classified in the category of small magic, that is, magic performed with small objects. The best way to learn coin magic is to begin by performing simple tricks like those described in this chapter.

As with the handling of all small apparatus, take care to display coins or bills so they are clearly visible to the audience. The tricks in this chapter will acquaint you with basic ways of handling coins and bills. At the same time, the effects produce strong visual magic.


The magician displays a quarter on his left palm. He covers it with a halfdollar.

The magician says, "I'll bet you 15 cents you can't tell me whether the coin under the half-dollar is heads up or tails up. If you win, you keep the coin under the half-dollar."

Even if the spectator guesses correctly, he will be surprised, because when the half-dollar is lifted, the coin under it has changed to a dime.

Method: When you remove a handful of change from your left trouser pocket, place a quarter over a dime. Do not call attention to what you do. Place a half-dollar aside. Then pick up the remaining change (all except the quarter and the dime) and place this change in your right trouser pocket.

Display the coins as shown in Figure 1. The right hand holds the half-dollar. The quarter is on the left palm. Unknown to the audience, there is a dime hidden under the quarter. Make some remark that calls attention to the quarter. You can say, for example, "I found this quarter just this morning. Let's see if it's lucky for me."

Place the half-dollar on top of the quarter. Tell the spectator that if he's willing to bet 15 cents, you will bet that he cannot guess whether the quarter is heads up or tails up. If he guesses correctly, you will give him the coin under the half-dollar.

Let him guess. If he guesses wrong, give him another chance. Then lift the half-dollar with the quarter under it. Place these two coins in the right pocket. From the spectator's point of view, a magical change has taken place—the quarter has changed to a dime.


A dime is displayed at the right fingertips. Except for the coin, the hands are unmistakably empty. Rubbing the dime, the magician explains that friction produces heat and heat causes metal to expand.

When the dime is next shown, it has changed to a half-dollar.

Method: Beforehand, clip a half-dollar between the right first and second fingers, Figure 2. Then grip a dime as shown in Figure 3. The preparation can be done with the hand in the jacket pocket. The key to the working of this trick is that if the dime is pointed directly at the spectator, the half-dollar cannot be seen.

Display the dime as shown in Figure 3 by pointing it at the spectator. The hand appears to be empty. Bring the left hand in front of the coin. With the back of the left hand screening the action from audience view, silently pivot the dime around onto the half-dollar with the left thumb, Figure 4.

Rub the coin. Then display the half-dollar. The dime is hidden behind the larger coin. From the audience's view, the dime has magically changed to a much larger coin. It is a startling transformation.

There is a little-known variation. Clip two half-dollars one behind the other, as shown in Figure 2. Place a dime in front of them and display the dime as shown in Figure 3.

Perform the handling shown in Figure 4 to pivot the dime around onto the upper half-dollar. Turn the hands so the back of the right hand is toward the audience.

Lift the upper half-dollar with the left hand and display it, Figure 5. The dime is concealed behind this half-dollar. Say, "Some people think I have two coins. I do." Now bring the other half-dollar into view with the right hand.


A $1 bill is placed on top of a $5 bill as shown in Figure 6. Starting at the bottom edge, both bills are rolled together, Figure 7. When the $5 bill has been completely rolled into a cylinder, Figure 8, the magician stops and has the spectator place his finger on the $1 bill to prevent trickery.

The bills are unrolled, but now the $5 bill is on top of the $1 bill.

Method: This adaptation of a classic trick with napkins or handkerchiefs was suggested by Monty Crowe. Place the $1 bill on top of the $5 bill as shown in Figure 6. Point out that the $1 bill is on top of the $5 bill.

Roll the two bills together as shown in Figure 7. Continue rolling the two bills until the $5 bill has been rolled into a cylinder, Figure 8. If you continue rolling the two bills the edge of the $5 bill will flip over.

This flip-over action is shown in the end view of Figures 9-A and 9B. When the long edge of the $5 bill reaches the position shown in Figure 9-B, stop rolling the bills. Have the spectator place his finger on the $1 bill to prevent trickery.

Slowly unroll the bills. The $5 bill will be on top of the $1 bill as shown in Figure 10.


The magician displays two coins, showing them front and back. Openly placing one coin in his pocket, he snaps his fingers and opens his hand. Both coins are back in the hand.

Method: E. G. Ervin invented the principle behind this trick. Arrange three coins as shown in Figure 11. The coins do not have to be identical. Coins A and C can be half-dollars, coin B a quarter. Make sure the coins are arranged with heads showing the same way on all coins.

With the coins so arranged, place them between the thumb and first finger, at the base of the thumb, as shown in Figure 12. When the coins are in this position they can be shown on both sides. It appears as if you hold two coins.

Grasp the coins with the left hand to hold them in place, Figure 13. Then close the right hand around the coins. Remove either coin A or coin C, show it and place it in the pocket. Snap the fingers. Wait a second, shake your head as if something went wrong, then snap the fingers again.

Open the hand to show that the second coin has apparently returned.

An arrangement suggested by Ervin for six coins is shown in Figure 14. With the coins held as shown in Figure 12, three coins will show. Close the hand around the coins as before. Remove and pocket three coins. Snap the fingers and all three coins seem to have returned to the right hand.


Several dollar-size pieces of blank paper are shown. They are folded and dropped into a paper cup. One is removed. The magician passes his hand over it. The blank paper changes to a $5 bill. There is no switch of paper.

Method: The trick depends on the little-noticed fact that a crisp new $5 bill contains an unprinted white area. The $5 bill is held so the side with the Lincoln Memorial is uppermost. The white area surrounds the Memorial, Figure 15.

Fold the bill as shown in Figure 16 to bring the white area to the center. Then fold the green portion at the top, bottom and sides around in back. The result will be that only the white shows, Figure 17. Place this folded $5 bill in the paper cup along with several dollar-size pieces of white paper.

When presenting the routine, remove a piece of blank paper, show both sides and fold it as described above. Drop it into the cup.

Do the same thing with the other pieces of paper. As you do, remark that a fellow once showed you a simple way to print money from blank paper. Shake up the contents of the cup. Then reach in and remove the folded $5 bill.

Bring it out so the audience sees the white surface. The bill looks like a blank piece of paper. Hold the bill between the right thumb and first finger.

Pass the left hand over the bill, Figure 17. As you do, allow the bill to turn over. This brings the inked surface into view. Open the bill to show that a blank piece of paper apparently changed into a crisp new $5 bill.


The old British pennies used before that currency converted to the decimal system are coins almost the same size as American half-dollars. They are obtainable in shops that sell foreign coins. A combination of English pennies and American half-dollars is used in a quick trick devised by Sam Aaronson.

The magician stacks four English pennies and four half-dollars so they alternate penny, half, penny, half, etc.

Four of the coins are tossed into the opposite hand. When the hand is opened, it contains four half-dollars. The halves have instantly separated themselves from the English coins.

Method: Although English pennies appear to be the same size as American half-dollars, they are slightly larger. This small difference in size is exploited in the following handling.

Stack four English pennies and four American half-dollars so they alternate. Then grasp the stack from above with the right hand, Figure 18.

Say, "Let's mix the coins a bit more." Make a tossing motion toward the left hand. Gently release the pressure of the right fingers. This will cause the smaller half-dollars to slip out of the right fingers and into the left hand, Figure 19. The back of the right hand is toward the audience, so the spectators cannot see which coins are being tossed into the left hand.

Immediately, close both hands into loose fists. Shake the coins a bit. Say, "This is a quick way to extract copper from silver." Open the hands one at a time to show that copper has separated from silver. The trick can also be done with four American nickels and four American pennies.

Another way to do the trick is to hand the eight coins to a spectator. Have him cup them between his hands and shake them up. With the coins randomly mixed, hold them as shown in Figure 18. Then go through the above handling to cause the randomly mixed coins to separate into copper and silver.


This is a gag that will amuse some and mystify others. The magician wraps six copper pennies and a silver coin in a handkerchief. He says, "The silver coin doesn't like to be among copper coins. In a second you'll see it try to jump out of the handkerchief."

Several seconds go by. Nothing happens. The magician says, "The silver coin dislikes salt even more. I'll go to the kitchen and sprinkle salt on the silver coin. Then you'll see it move."

The magician starts to leave for the kitchen with the handkerchief-wrapped coins. Immediately, the silver coin begins gyrating wildly inside the handkerchief.

Method: The secret is simple. Just as you reach the doorway, pause with the handkerchief bag at the edge of the doorway in view of the audience. The other arm is behind the other side of the doorway. Bend it back, allowing the fingers to snap against the handkerchief bag, Figure 20.

The result is that the handkerchief bag will begin to gyrate as if the coins inside have sprung to life. Do this for just a second. Say, "The silver coin doesn't want me even to mention salt." Step back into the room and continue with further mysteries.


While the magician turns his head aside, a spectator places a coin on the magician's outstretched palm. The coin is covered with a handkerchief. "I'm going to try to guess the date on the coin," the magician says.

He thinks psychic thoughts, then says, "I get the date 2001, a date that doesn't exist yet. That means the coin doesn't exist." Removing the handkerchief, he shows that the coin has vanished.

Method: This coin vanish is a favorite of Tony Kardyro. The only requirement is that you wear a watch.

Turn your head to one side and have a coin placed on the left palm. Keep the head turned away as you begin to cover the coin with a handkerchief.

The corner of the handkerchief is held between the right first and second fingers. As the handkerchief is drawn over the coin, the coin is clipped between the thumb and first finger, Figure 21. The handkerchief hides the steal.

As the handkerchief is drawn farther over the left palm, the coin is slipped under the wristwatch as shown in Figure 21.

At this point, announce that you will try to guess the date on the coin. Look skyward, then announce that the date is 2001 or some such future date. Say, "That means the coin doesn't exist yet." Whisk away the handkerchief to reveal that the coin has vanished.

If you are wearing a jacket, the jacket sleeve will keep the coin concealed from audience view. If you are performing the trick in a short-sleeved shirt, keep the left hand behind the handkerchief when showing that the coin has vanished, Figure 22.

If you want added cover for the coin, prepare by turning the watch face to the inside of the wrist. Then the coin can be slipped under the watch face rather than under the band. Most watch faces are large enough to cover the coin completely.

When you have completed the vanish of the coin, the spectator is likely to say that your coin might not exist but his does. Reply, "Actually, your coin has gone through a time warp. It was transported here." Remove from the pocket a coin of the same value and hand it to the spectator.



Amateur and professional magicians agree on the value of good stand-up tricks for their acts. Tricks that are performed while standing can be seen by the maximum number of spectators. Also, such tricks require nothing in the way of tables or special settings. Armed with nothing more than a few simple props, the stand-up magician can step before the audience and immediately proceed to perform miracles.

Almost all of the tricks in this chapter use props that may be borrowed. Some, like "Penny-tration" (No. 11), can be done close up. Others, like "Hot Silver" (No. 14), are ideal for platform or stage acts.


Bob Hummer invented a quick trick that produces startling visual magic. The magician places a coin in the left hand. The left hand is closed into a fist.

The right hand is slapped on top of the left fist. When the right hand is lifted, the coin is on top of the left fist, Figure 23, having apparently penetrated the fist.

Method: Flip a coin in the air and catch it in the left palm. Close the left hand into a loose fist and turn the left hand palm down.

Slap the top of the left fist with the right hand, Figure 24. As you do, move both hands up. At the same time release the coin.

The coin will sail out of the left fist as shown by the arrow in the exposed view in Figure 25. It will bounce off the right palm and come to rest on top of the left hand.

There is a knack to making the motion. The left hand should move up and stop abruptly. Allow the coin to keep moving so it sails out of the left hand, ricochets off the right palm and comes to rest on top of the left fist. All that remains is to lift the right hand away to show that the coin has apparently penetrated the left hand.

Practice the motion so it is imperceptible. When you have mastered it, you may wish to try a variation suggested by Bruce Elliott. Drop a handful of change into the left hand. Close the hand into a fist. Keep jingling the coins. As the right hand moves to a position over the left fist, Figure 24, the motion of the left hand is used to work the coins to a position near the opening in the fist.

Use the maneuver shown in Figure 25 to propel the coins out of the fist, against the right palm and onto the top of the left fist. Freeze the hands. Then slowly draw the right hand away to show the coins on top of the left hand.


"You've heard the saying that money makes money," the magician says. "Let me show you what that means."

He displays a dollar bill, folds it, snaps his fingers and causes a half-dollar to materialize from within the bill.

Method: Have the bill and a half-dollar in the pocket. Reach into the pocket, place the coin behind the bill, then remove the apparatus so the bill faces the audience with the coin concealed in back.

Snap the left side of the bill with the left fingers, Figure 26. This shows the left hand empty and also indicates that the left side of the bill does not conceal a coin.

Grasp the left side of the bill with the left hand. Then transfer the coin from the right to the left hand as shown in Figure 27. This clever move was invented by Clayton Rosencrance.

When the coin has been secretly transferred to a position under the left thumb, snap the right side of the bill with the right first finger, Figure 28.

Fold the bill into quarters with the coin inside. Then tilt the folded bill downward so the coin slowly emerges from inside the bill, Figure 29.


Excerpted from SELF-WORKING COIN MAGIC by Karl Fulves, Joseph K. Schmidt. Copyright © 1989 Karl Fulves. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Karl Fulves is one of the most respected authorities in the field of magic. For over 40 years, he has written hundreds of books on the subject and taught the art of illusion to thousands of people of all ages. This legendary figure also edited and published such magazines as Epilogue and The Pallbearers Review.

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Self-Working Coin Magic: 92 Foolproof Tricks 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book.