Michael Skinner's Trick

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Philippe Noël
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Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby Philippe Noël » April 30th, 2017, 10:48 am

In the Vernon Touch, page 124, Vernon describes a trick that Skinner performed for a waitress.
Mike Skinner handed a piece of photographic paper to the waitress for examination.
Then he placed it on a silver dollar and had the girl initial the paper.
Next he had her "select" a card.
He asked her to press on the paper and coin with her hand.
She turned over the initialed paper and now on the other side was a perfect replica of her selected card.

Do you know if this trick is described somewhere ?
I only know of the Bert Allerton aspirin tin routine which is roughly similar in effect.

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Re: Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby Brad Henderson » April 30th, 2017, 10:58 am

i believe it's in the roy benson book as well.

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Re: Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby Leonard Hevia » April 30th, 2017, 11:03 am

Sounds like Skinner used a Polaroid camera to take a photo of the card. The resulting instant photo is blank and takes about 5 to 10 minutes to fully develop. He managed to get the waitress to his table fairly quickly, asked her to examine the still blank photo and laid it on her hand face down with the coin on it.

The coin was placed on the photo to prevent the waitress from prematurely lifting the picture. I don't know if Polaroid cameras are still on the market.

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Re: Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby Philippe Noël » April 30th, 2017, 11:07 am

I found the trick, it's Spirit Cartography by Harry Blackstone

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Brad Jeffers
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Re: Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby Brad Jeffers » April 30th, 2017, 1:03 pm

This very old effect is described by David Roth on his "Expert Coin Magic Made Easy" video series.
He calls it "Photo Coins".
It is on the volume that covers work with the expanded shell.

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Re: Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby Bill Duncan » April 30th, 2017, 5:14 pm

Leonard Hevia wrote:Sounds like Skinner used a Polaroid camera to take a photo of the card. The resulting instant photo is blank and takes about 5 to 10 minutes to fully develop. He managed to get the waitress to his table fairly quickly, asked her to examine the still blank photo and laid it on her hand face down with the coin on it.

The coin was placed on the photo to prevent the waitress from prematurely lifting the picture. I don't know if Polaroid cameras are still on the market.


As I recall, Polaroid photos had to be peeled before they would develop, and the surface was damp. You had to avoid touching it, which is why people would "shake it like a Polaroid picture."

If you laid an undeveloped photo on someone's hand it would stick.

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Re: Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby Leonard Hevia » April 30th, 2017, 5:31 pm

Ah--that's right Bill! Thanks for clarifying that. I forgot that polaroids were wet before slowly developing. I could swear there was a Polaroid camera that ejected the photo without that paper on it that had to be peeled off. A later model? It's been many years since I saw one in action.

The waitress supposedly looked and sawing nothing on the photographic paper before Skinner laid it down on her palm, a slowly developing polaroid was a thought.

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Re: Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby Jonathan Townsend » April 30th, 2017, 6:02 pm

Leonard Hevia wrote:... a Polaroid camera that ejected the photo without that paper on it that had to be peeled off. A later model? ....


There was, the SX-70.
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Re: Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby Leonard Hevia » April 30th, 2017, 7:34 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:There was, the SX-70.


Thank you Jonathan! This trick can be done with the SX-70! I don't remember how long it took for the photo to develop for this camera though. I don't think it was more than 5 or 10 minutes.

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Re: Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby MagicbyAlfred » April 30th, 2017, 8:04 pm

For many years I have been doing trick called "Say Cheese." It was invented and marketed by Mike Bent. There are several effects you can do using a Polaroid Joycam and the film for that camera Polaroid Captiva 500. I don't know if either the camera or film are manufactured anymore. Probably not. I liked it so much that I bought two Joy cams and a ton of film some of which I still left some 20 + years later. The product from Mike bent were basically plastic transparent (translucite?) inserts that you tape to the inside of the camera. Neither the camera nor the film were included when you bought the inserts and instructions. I bought those separately. There were three or four inserts that were included with the trick when you purchased it, plus illustrated instructions.

I always use the one with the image of a Goodyear Blimp. You must be outside, the sky must be relatively clear, and you must have a clear view of the sky (no trees or buildings in the way). i like to get the whole group in the photo and you have to kneel and take the photo of the people at an upward an angle so you get both them and the sky. A card is "freely" chosen and shown around, then pocketed by the spectator (eliminates any forgetfulness or chance they can try to trip you up.) You ask them to concentrate on the card, but before you try to read their mind, you say that first you want to get a nice group photo to commemorate the occasion. You snap the photo, and push a button. Part of the photographic paper ejects from the side of the camera. It is filmy and blank, it is not wet, and there is no paper to remove. You ask them to place that in their pocket.

You then call their attention back to the card trick and ask them to concentrate on their card. You pretend to try to read their mind, but fail. After just a minute of two you say, "Anyway let's have a look at the photo to see how it came out." When the spectator pulls it out of his her pocket or purse, it is fully developed and there is a Goodyear Blimp in the sky with 3 of clubs written in big letters on the side of the blimp. Needless to say that was the selected card. This trick has gotten me more work than any single trick I have ever performed.

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Brad Jeffers
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Re: Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby Brad Jeffers » April 30th, 2017, 8:29 pm

The trick that Skinner performed for the waitress requires a sliver dollar, a matching expanded shell, two small pieces of "photographic" paper, one blank and one with a photo of a card on it.

The paper cannot be larger than the diameter of the coin.

There are no Polaroid cameras involved in this trick.

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Brad Jeffers
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Re: Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby Brad Jeffers » April 30th, 2017, 9:02 pm

Correction ...
The trick requires two coins, not just one.

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Re: Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby Leonard Hevia » April 30th, 2017, 9:58 pm

That was a great trick Alfred! Thanks for recounting that for our edification.

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Re: Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby Jackpot » April 30th, 2017, 10:16 pm

The effect Skinner performed sounds similar to "Miniature Card and Coin" which appears in Miracle Methods #3 Prepared Cards and Accessories.
Not the one who created the Potter Index.

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Re: Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby Jackpot » April 30th, 2017, 10:35 pm

Miracle Methods #3 Prepared Cards and Accessories is by Hugard and Braue.
Not the one who created the Potter Index.

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Re: Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby Richard Hatch » April 30th, 2017, 10:43 pm

Paul Curry had an excellent version using flash paper called "Circle of Fire" (reprinted in "Paul Curry's Worlds Beyond" from Hermetic Press). He credited the original effect to Al Baker, but Stephen Minch in a crediting footnote traced it back to Will Goldston's "The Young Conjurer, Part 2" (1912), p. 12, under the title "The A.W. G. Card and Coin Effect".

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Re: Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby MagicbyAlfred » May 1st, 2017, 2:42 am

Leonard Hevia wrote:That was a great trick Alfred! Thanks for recounting that for our edification.


You are most welcome Leonard!

It also makes a wonderful memento and conversation piece for the host. Having his/her special guests and/or family members in the photo with the Blimp high above them in the sky brings together the magic & the moment in a special and spectacular way. When I've had return engagements at peoples's homes or club or whatever (sometimes on an annual basis at the same venue), it is gratifying to see that they often have the photo on the wall, stuck to a bulletin board, or in a frame on a table. Something like that can make the magic play on in their minds for a long time to come - and serve as a reminder of who they can call to entertain at their, or their friend or family member's, next event!

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Re: Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby webbmaster » May 1st, 2017, 10:33 am

When I worked at Tannen's in the 70's this was sold on a regular basis. You got a english penny shell (not expanded, regular size hollowed out) and a cut-down english penny which would fit in the shell. Also a regular english penny. Also a photographic print of a deck of cards spread out. You'd force a card that matches the one that you cut out and put between the shell and cut-down coin. You'd show a little piece of paper that is the same size as your 'print' and put it on the nested set. Put the regular coin on top to complete the 'darkroom'. After time to 'develop', the regular coin AND shell are lifted, fingertips hiding the edge discrepancy, revealing the cut-down coin with the photo on it. This is the set that Geof Latta got his shell and cut down English Pennies that he used a lot for other things.

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Re: Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby Philippe Noël » May 1st, 2017, 12:17 pm

Hi Webbmaster,
Do you know if such a trick is still sold?

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Re: Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby webbmaster » May 1st, 2017, 2:36 pm

I'd say call Tannen's. Ask for Rich or Magick and just ask if they have this (photographic coins) or whatever it may be called now. Describe the effect. If no luck, just ask for a real English penny, a non-expanded (regular) shell English Penny, and a Cut-down English Penny. Also, don't forget to ask Jon Townsend one of our more knowledgeable coin men. He'll know.

Also , just spread out a deck of cards and take a photo and go to Duane Reade pharmacies to get prints made. All very do-able.

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Re: Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby Philippe Noël » May 1st, 2017, 4:03 pm

Thank you Webbmaster.

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Brad Jeffers
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Re: Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby Brad Jeffers » May 1st, 2017, 4:40 pm

webbmaster wrote:When I worked at Tannen's in the 70's this was sold on a regular basis.
Tannen's 1973 catalog lists this item as "Miracle Coins and Card Trick". It sold for $3 with extra miniature photo cards for 50 cents a package.
The 1983 catalog has it priced at $9.50 and $1.25 for the extra photo cards.
Put the regular coin on top to complete the 'darkroom'. After time to 'develop', the regular coin AND shell are lifted, fingertips hiding the edge discrepancy, revealing the cut-down coin with the photo on it.

Beginning with the photo card face down between the coin and shell, another handling is ...

After putting the regular coin on top to complete the 'darkroom', as an afterthought, the regular coin AND shell are lifted and the spectator is requested to initial the paper. While this is happening you lap the shell and the blank piece of paper. Replace the regular coin and now you no longer have to touch anything. The two coins with the signed paper in between are held by the spectator for as long as it takes for the picture to develop. The spectator removes the top coin and turns over the initialed paper to reveal a photo of their selected card.

A minor miracle!

Of course, you would want to use an expanded shell with this handling, rather than a cut down coin.

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Re: Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby Ryan Matney » May 2nd, 2017, 12:04 pm

Photographic Coins is described in Tarbell (Vol 7, I think) and is also performed and described by David Roth on one of the "Expert Coin Magic Made easy" videos.
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Re: Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby Richard Kaufman » May 2nd, 2017, 12:35 pm

The trick of using a small photograph was pretty popular: I remember one good version was Frank Kelly's "Z Ray." That must have been from the 1950s.
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Brad Jeffers
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Re: Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby Brad Jeffers » May 2nd, 2017, 3:06 pm

Ryan Matney wrote:Photographic Coins is described in Tarbell (Vol 7, I think)
You are correct.
It is in Volume 7 under the title "The Sensitized Paper".
There is also a method by Vernon which uses only one coin.
Vernon's method appears to be what was used by Skinner in his impromptu performance for the waitress.

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erdnasephile
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Re: Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby erdnasephile » May 2nd, 2017, 5:13 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:The trick of using a small photograph was pretty popular: I remember one good version was Frank Kelly's "Z Ray." That must have been from the 1950s.


Was that the one that ended with the picture of the skeleton hand and the card?

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Re: Michael Skinner's Trick

Postby BoKo » May 2nd, 2017, 9:15 pm

this also sounds similar to The Aspirin Box from Bert Allerton's "The Close-up Magician"


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