Please Put On Your Thinking Caps: Who Invented "Well, I Never!"

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/22/13 12:33 AM

Someone must know who invented that great vanish of a penny, placed on the table inside a triangle composed of three wooden matches, which are then covered by the wooden match box.

It was sold under the title "Well, I Never!" by Tannens and many others.
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Postby Max Maven » 02/22/13 02:15 AM

I've always associated this trick with England, because I first saw it in a Davenport's catalog from the mid-1950s. I still own that catalog, but do not know where it is at the moment.

The earliest references I've located are also English. In 1953 it was advertised by Max Andrews' Vampire Magic as "Nifty Nickel." (The title suggests that the trick was originally devised in the U.S. or Canada; the Vampire trick description uses a sixpence piece.)

It was a relatively easy trick to knock off. In 1957 it was marketed as the "Ghostly Farthing" by a couple of British dealers. Tannen's version, called "Well I Never," came out in 1967. It reappeared as "Astro Coin" in 1976, and again as "Bermuda Triangle" in 1981.

None of the advertisements mentions an inventor!

If I track down that Davenport's catalog, I'll let you know -- but they were never all that careful about credits, either.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 02/22/13 02:26 AM

(Another McComb coincidence)...I was looking at Billy's circa 1954/55 "Demon Series" Davenport House catalogue today and still had it out. I found the trick about a quarter way in (no page numbers) under the name "Well I Never" and there is no name of an inventor, though it is called the "classic small trick of the year!"

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/22/13 02:34 AM

Thanks, keep digging!
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Postby Bill Mullins » 02/22/13 03:28 AM

The Davenport's ad in the Dec 19, 1953 issue of _Abra_ has it under the title of "Well I Never".
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Postby Joe Pecore » 02/22/13 05:20 AM

An editor's note in George Blake's column in the April 1973 issue of Magigram says:

" 'Nifty Nickle' was, of course, originated by Werry of Germany and rights were granted to Supreme Magic who sell this under the original title of Werry's Matchbox Illusion."

http://geniimagazine.com/magicpedia/Werry
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/22/13 12:36 PM

Thank you all very much!
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Postby Edward Pungot » 02/22/13 01:37 PM

It's posts and responses like this, that make me proud to be a Magician.
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Postby Joe Pecore » 02/22/13 04:08 PM

Also found an advertisement for Werry's Matchbox Illusion in Magicgram which states:

"...was first described in his magic magazine 'Magische Welt'..."
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Postby Joe Pecore » 02/22/13 04:31 PM

Found it as "Meine Streichholzschachtel-Jllusion" in Magische Welt, Vol 3, No.2, April 1954, page 34.
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Postby Bill Marquardt » 02/22/13 06:57 PM

Darn. I thought it was Jack Benny.
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 02/22/13 08:26 PM

A description also appears in 48 der besten Zauberkunststcke mit Zndhlzern und Zndholzschachteln (1955) by Hans-Werner Waster (pseudonym for Dr. Hans-Gerhard Stumpf, who produced several collections of tricks with matches, matchboxes and matchbooks). The version described also uses a playing card. I dont know if its Werrys method, though it seems likely.

Harry Stanley also sold a trick called Water-Tite by Bob Swadling, which came together with instructions for another effect called New Magic Triangle. According to the advert in The Gen (I found it in the September 1969 issue) there seems to be just a playing card covering the triangle of matches, though it does say The above might read like an effect you may already know, but.... The climax is that the spectator finds the coin among the matches inside the box. Its not clear whether the box was placed on the card or not.
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Postby stereo » 02/23/13 10:51 AM

Very interesting post. I do not have enough knowledge to help you, but I learn by reading your reply.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/23/13 11:27 AM

And you know why I'm asking the question!
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Postby stereo » 02/23/13 06:50 PM

Yes :)
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Postby Matthew Field » 02/24/13 04:40 AM

Secret Tenyo talk here.
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