Originally posted by Brian Marks:
shells have been around for at least since the 19th century as they were mentioned in books of that time period.
Believe it or not, you can read about a shell in "Discoverie Of Witchcraft" Written by Reginald Scot in 1584. IN chapter XXIV, here is an excerpt in modern English regarding both the two faced coin (precursor to copper/silver gimmick) and a shell.
"A NOTABLE TRICKE TO TRANSFORME A COUNTER TO A GROAT.
Take a groat, or some other coin, and grind it very thin on one side. Then take two counters (poker chips, etc.) and grind one very thin on one side, and the other very thin on the other side. Glue the smooth side of the groat to the smooth side of one of the counters, joining them as close as possible, especially at the edges. The edges can now be filed so they seem to be one piece, one side a groat, and the other side a counter.
Then take a very little green wax, the green wax being the softest and therefore best, and smear it on the smooth side of the remaining ground- down counter, as it does not discolor the coin it will be attached to. Press the waxed side over the coin face, to which it will stick as if glued, and file the edges, so that it seems like a perfect entire counter, and even if a spectator handles it he will not detect it.
Have a little wax on the forefinger and thumb of your right hand. Lay the counter on your left palm with your right hand's back up and the thumb down and, as you do, press hard with the thumb, separating the waxed shell from the glued two-sided coin. Press your thumb against the waxed shell and carry it away to hide at your pleasure. Show the glued gimmick, being certain it is counter side up, on your left palm. Close your hand and turn the trick coin over, so instead of a counter, which everyone supposes to be in your hand, you seem to have a groat, to the astonishmnet of everyone, if it is well-handled."
Interesting isn't it?
Bill, regarding creating expanded shells, the older way was to file down a coin then a stretched rim was added to the filed down coin to create the shell. The modern way is to slightly expand an entire coin first, then bore out one side of the coin leaving the original coin edges intact.
As to the two copper, one silver gimmick, yes it is like the C/S/B gimmick except the chinese brass coin is a British Penny.
[ February 04, 2002: Message edited by: Dan Watkins ]