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.