Favourite coin sleight

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Guest » 08/10/01 06:07 PM

For all those coin workers out there, what are your favourite coin sleights, why, and where did you learn them.

My favourite coin sleight at the moment is the muscle pass (John Cornielious), because it looks totally impossible, and i learnt it from an internet site.

What are your fav coin sleights?

Postby Brian Marks » 08/10/01 10:52 PM

retension pass. Its so deceptive. I learned it from David Roth's Expert Coin Magic.
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Postby David Acer » 08/10/01 11:21 PM

You know, Jay Sankey and I had this discussion recently that, unlike card magic, really good, natural coin magic requires a touch that really doesnt develop until your thirties. Im not suggesting that there arent talented coin men out there in their twenties, but theres something about age, confidence and maturity that really enriches coin work.
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Postby Guest » 08/11/01 09:22 AM

Sorry to disagree, but i am only 15, yet i have been complemented highly by alot of people including Ali Bongo, and i can do various effects that many grown up men cant do!
I am not trying to boast as i have seen other people my age who are in the same position as me.
It all depends on your style, how long you've been practising magic, and how long you practise a day.
I have no idea why you think older men's coin work is better, i have met older men who have been doing magic for a long time, and i doubt it will take me till i'm thrity to be as good as them.
Just my opinion, no offence intended :)

Postby Brian Marks » 08/11/01 10:21 AM

I dont think David is necessarily refering to skill. Certainly someone in their teens with an interest in coins can have a much higher ability than lets say a 44 year old whose been doing a little bit of everything for 30 years.

I think David is refering o someone's ability to sell the coin magic.
I being 23 and someone who specializes in coins, I can most certainly sell tricks to my audience. As I get older the same tricks are becoming more surpising to those I perform it for. I pace the tricks better as Ive slowed down the speed ofthe performance. I tend not to barrage my audience with kickers as I used to do. I more selectve about the tricks I do and perform only one or two tricks. Your general performance sharpens with age and your execution of sleights becomes more elegant.
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Postby Jeremy Medows » 08/11/01 10:50 AM

My favorite coin move is when I lock the centavo insert into my scotch and soda half.

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Postby Guest » 08/11/01 11:06 AM

LOL Jeremy.
Another coin sleight which can look fantastic is the retention pass as stated earlier, which i forgot to mention, there is nothing better than to throw on Roth's Expert coin magic vol 2 to watch his amazing retention vanish, even when you know the secret, this illusion of the coin being in the hand after the hands separate is unbeatable.

Anyway, i still disagree with the point made about being able to sell magic as you get older.
I am not saying this because i am young, but because everyonme is an individual, and we are all different, so this might ork for 1 person, but not for the next, so it can not be stated as a fact.
It still comes down to what way you practise/for how long etc.
Some people are impatient and will show their coin tricks too fast, and vice versa, so it comes down what i have stated as well as your personality which is obvious.
Perrhaps the reason why David thinks his views is because usually older people are better at magic , and i agree, but only because they have been in the business longer and usually have a little more sense than us younger performers.
If you don't agree then we should probably agree to disagree and get on with the origional question.

What is your favourite coin sleight, why and where did you learn it?

Postby Eric DeCamps » 08/11/01 11:43 AM


Just for the record John Cornelius did not invent the muscle pass. I believe that the first record of this particular sleight appeared in Arthur Buckley's book, "Principles and Deceptions" - The Williamson Press, 1948.

I do believe that Mr. Cornelius was the first person to apply the sleight as a visual demonstration of a coin falling up.

I know you requested that we go back to your original question and I apologize for swaying off the subject a bit but I found David Acer's post to interesting to ignore.

I do not think that Mr. Acer is suggesting that one has to turn a certain age to become a good coin worker. What I believe the essence of his statement here is a performer has to reach a certain maturity and experience that only can be arrived to after many years of study, effort and experience working in front of live audiences.

Since 1984 I have had the pleasure of helping out at Tannen's Magic Camp and meeting many of the young students of magic ages 12-18. In addition, at various magic conventions over the last two and a half decades, I have also met many talented young magicians who can execute some very impressive sleight of hand. Certainly many of them demonstrated a much higher technical skill level than some people who have been in magic longer.

However, very few of them ever really demonstrated what Dai Vernon so passionately preached that ones actions should be natural. To do a something mechanically correct and to do it naturally are two different things. IMHO, to develop magic at a high level it takes years and years of research, trial, error and a very critically constructive eye.

While it is true that there are exceptions to a rule, exceptions such as David Roth, Geoff Latta, David Williamson, Tim Conover, Jay Sankey and Mike Gallo, who have all demonstrated a gift for coin magic at a relatively young age. Those are few and far in-between.

Now to answer your original question, my favorite sleight with coins would have to be a fake take. Of the fake takes I am particularity enamored with John Ramsay's version.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/11/01 12:14 PM

My favorite coin sleight is Sol Stone's One-Handed Copper/Silver Change that I published in CoinMagic ... 20 years ago. Jeez!
My fondness for this sleight relates to the fact that Sol taught it to me when I was 14 or 15, and he and I are the only two people on the planet who can do it properly. It seems to be impossible to learn from print. I mean, people can learn the mechanics, but you can always see the coins moving around when they perform it.
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Postby Eric DeCamps » 08/11/01 06:40 PM


Thought you would like to know I spent the afternoon with Sol today at the usual NYC Saturday afternoon magic hangout. He's still as smooth and amazing as ever!

My favorite coin sleight of Sol's is his technique of soft sleeving that was published in Apocalypse so many years ago. For anyone who is interested in sleeving coins this is a must read.

Now as far as Sol Stone's One-Handed Copper/Silver Change is concerned you piqued my interest in it. I have to hurry up and go now and get my copy of Coinmagic to see if I can be the third guy on the planet to do it.

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Postby Curtis Kam » 08/11/01 08:08 PM


Your original question caused me to stop and ponder for a lot longer than I care to admit. It's tough enough to decide on a workable definition for "favorite", let alone pick a winner. Still, in the spirit of the post, I'd say:

Albert Goshman's false-toss retention pass.

Where learned from? You can learn the basic technique from his tape, or his book, but I doubt you'll be able to appreciate how absolutely convincing the illusion was unless you saw Mr. Goshman live. Live, it fooled the ____ out of me every time. Mind you, this is a retentiion pass in which the coin never actually gets within 6" of the receiving hand.

WHY? This move rocks the boat. It suggests that most of the popular wisdom about retention vanishes is wrong. A "burn" is not a physical phenomenon that occurs at the eyes, it's a trick of the mind. And I suggest that the ramifications are significant, and cause you to rethink the way you measure the effectiveness of a sleight.

By the way, I'm not suggesting that I do the move as well as Mr. Goshman did. But I have applied the lesson to moves of my own, and do have a very convincing retention, complete with "burn" in which the hands are always about a foot apart.

And in response to Mr. Acer's very interesting comment, which really ought to be a thread on its own, I agree that coinworkers get better with age, at least that seems to be true in my own case. How are you going to be "natural" until you're old enough to know who you are? Or to use Gary Kurtz's phrase, it usually takes time to develop your "vocabulary of gestures".
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Postby Guest » 08/12/01 01:46 PM

I love thumb palming plus sleeving coins.
You can vanish and produce coins very magical with sleeving. If you also use the topit then you can do real miracles with coins, promise.
My favourite teachers are Michael Ammar and Carl Cloutier. Check of those videos and books out !

Mats www.kjellstrom.nu ;)

[ August 12, 2001: Message edited by: Kjellstrom ]

Postby Guest » 08/12/01 03:25 PM


Get back to us when you are 33. You will get the meaning and we will already know you got it because you will be so far ahead of the rest.

You are lucky to live in an age when, in your mid teens, you can be exposed to exacting descriptions of the bst work available. Just think how awesome you will be after absorbing twice as much time on this planet.

I can hardly wait!!

Tom Cutts

Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/12/01 03:31 PM

Does someone want to tell Zoink what it was like in 1980, just before CoinMagic was first published, when there were NO videotapes, NO internet, and the only book on coin magic you could find was Bobo's Modern Coin Magic which had been written 25 years earlier?
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Postby Guest » 08/13/01 01:24 PM

You may not consider it a sleight, but it's very necessary and one of the few things i do with coins. The classic palm and figer palm.

Postby Brian Marks » 08/13/01 06:10 PM

Finger Palm and Classic Palm are the building blocks of coin magic and are a prerequisite to everything I do. They are the 2 most important sleights in my rep.
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Postby Guest » 08/14/01 06:47 PM

well thanks to Zoinks advice on another BB I am starting to get to grips with the muscle pass (Thanks again Zoink, two inches and rising!). But my current favourite has got to be the pumpkin seed vanish from Bobo. I don't really know what it is about the sleight that pleases me, but I do find myself laughing out loud!


Postby Guest » 08/15/01 10:32 AM

Hey, Jethro, nice to hear from you hear at Genii, and thanks

Anyway,Some people have almost critisized me, but i will not take offence, because that is not the way i am.
I know that to you, i seem very new since i have not been in this bulletin board long, but i have been doing magic for around ten years, and i have only got the internet since Christmas just past.
Before then, i had NO video's and of course no internet.
Heck, i did'nt even have Bobo's!!!
I still managed to scrape by and learn all the basic sleights, so Richard, i have a fair idea of what it would've been like back in 1980.
That is'nt the point, someone whom i have never spoke to before is telling me to come back when i'm 33!
I don't think this is right.
I agree to disagree, i think that good coin-work comes from good practise.
That is the basic.
Can we just leave it now, because there is no point in everyone critisizing me for what i have said, and i WILL come back and say the same thing when im 33 (or maybe 32 :) ), if this board is still here.

BTW Richard, I have quite alot of coin-magic material, but i have not got this "CoinMagic" book/video that you refer to, is it still buyable? if so where?

Thank you,
Zoink :D

Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 08/15/01 02:07 PM

Ah, yes...The question, which is usually asked-and-answered before it is thrown to the "wolves of discourse," about the importance of maturation (ripening)...This is a twitchy query. How old does one have to be when it comes to understanding and executing pure sleight of hand with coins?

It's been my experience that youthful magicians tend to practice more and have better motor coordination than old timers...and they seem more interested in fooling EYES, not minds. I was always impressed that John Ramsay preferred the finger-palm and thumb-palm and seldom, if ever, used more refined (and perhaps fancy) sleights..No Muscle Passing, Goshman (Tenkai) Pinches, super Shuttle Passes, with and without clicks. Ramsay had, however, a deep understanding of NATURALNESS and expressed a sweetly, soft-selling king of misdirection. No razz, no dazzle. Pure magic. And I'd be surprised to hear that Ramsay developed this mastery overnight or when he was a kid.

The straight-forward Zen trick (coin transition)I mentioned not long ago (from Dean Dill)did not look fancy, manipulative, or difficult. It looked magical.

This should be the goal, young or old, skilled or unskilled. And this usually takes a long time to develop. There are of course exceptions to the rule: virtuosos and prodigies. But they are rare...

PURELY PERSONAL PREJUDICE: I always thought that using the Muscle Pass to apparently cause "a coin to fall upward" was an odd and perhaps wasteful application of what should be used in a SECRET manner...Those who do this (and there are many), assume that this sight gag is truly wonderful. In reality, they are really using this "throw-away approach" to show off their skill and thereby justify the hours of painful practice required to master this move.

Doug Conn, on the other hand, uses it to vanish a coin, which IMHO is much superior...

What say you?

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Postby Bill Mullins » 08/15/01 04:57 PM

Originally posted by Jon Racherbaumer:

PURELY PERSONAL PREJUDICE: I always thought that using the Muscle Pass to apparently cause "a coin to fall upward" was an odd and perhaps wasteful application of what should be used in a SECRET manner...

Doug Conn, on the other hand, uses it to vanish a coin, which IMHO is much superior...


Chad Long also uses a muscle pass in a "sleighty" way -- to put a coin into a coin purse immediately before removing it.

This is, I think, one more variation of the
flourish/no flourish discussion.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/15/01 05:20 PM

First, for those interested in the Muscle Pass, wait until you see Akira Fujii's "Jet Coins" in the October issue of Genii. There's Muscle-Passing, and then there's MUSCLE-Passing. DeCamps can tell you about Fujii's double click pass using the Muscle Pass. Truly artful and deceptive.
Second--Zoink: CoinMagic is a book, over 250 pages, of coin tricks I wrote, illustrated, and published in 1981. CoinMagic and the Roth book are STILL the only two large books devoted solely to coin magic to be published since Bobo in the 1950s.
CoinMagic and David Roth's Expert Coin Magic are available on the Kaufman and Company section of the Genii website. :)

[ August 15, 2001: Message edited by: Richard Kaufman ]
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Postby Guest » 08/15/01 06:29 PM

All this talk of the muscle pass almost frightened me off this thread completely.

I'm afraid my coin magic depends entirely on mere mortal sleights - the classic palm, finger palm, L'homme Masque load provide me with all I need for my simple routines.

Personally I enjoy using the classic palm, primarily because my hands are suited the right shape to make it relatively easy. I don't know how or why, but when I first tried out coins I realised that a modern English penny (same size as a US penny)would stick in my almost flat palm.

Interesting thread, nonetheless.

Postby David Acer » 08/15/01 08:09 PM

James Ceilen also developed a Muscle Click Pass which he uses to great effect in his Coins Across (see The Magic of Canada, Volume 2, from Stevens Magic Emporium). End transmission.
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Postby Guest » 08/16/01 07:38 AM

I'm still very much at the early stage of learning coin sleights and it would be hard to pick a favourite.

However at the moment I love using (and trying to perfect) the tenkai/goshman pinch.

Then again, when I was learning the classic palm, finger and thumb palms - and other 'utility' moves, they would have been my 'favourites' at that time.

Hmm - thinking about it - the Ramsey and Kaps subtleties are lovely and dear to me too :D - but the best reaction I've had so far is from a 6 year old when I did a spell bound change of his 50p coin into a 1 coin (guess where I live!)


Postby Jeff Haas » 08/17/01 02:53 AM

I was heavily influenced by Al Schneider's books, especially his stuff on coin magic. His technique for a simple vanish is terrific, and I use that and his classic palm technique all the time.
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Postby Guest » 08/17/01 10:38 AM

The Tunnel Vanish, 'cos it just looks so damn impossible, even they're burning your hands.

And production from Downs Palm. Your hand is "obviously" empty, fingers spread, shown front and rear, and you pluck a coin from empty air. Wish I could do it more smoothly, though.

Postby Dan LeFay » 08/23/01 01:23 PM

Thank you John R. for expressing my exact feelings for this interesting subject.

After reading many books on coinmagic and seeing equally many video's, i was allmost an instant fan of Dill, after seeing his "sit back and enjoy" on coinmagic 2000.
Now that's what I call Magical with a capital M.
How on earth am i ever be able to see this "Zen" thing here in remote Holland...
My heart soars... ;)
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Postby Conus » 08/24/01 08:01 AM

Have been using Buckley's Bounce Vanish ever since I saw Doug Conn demonstrate it. Really neat.
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Postby Gordolini » 08/25/01 07:59 AM

I'd just like to add to this very interesting thread that I handle coins like an elephant wearing boxing gloves, blindfolded, in a dark room!!

I must agree with an earlier comment "Scotch & Soda" is the one for me, or even better, "Coin Unique". ;)
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Postby Guest » 08/25/01 12:58 PM

Wow what a great thread for a coin magic lover.

This is a niche in magic that I choose to spend about 90% of my practice and study on. I have a chance to often perform within my industry at trade shows, and cocktail parties, etc. I do not perform magic for a profession, though I do within my profession if you follow the distinction.

I usually work right out of my Trouser pockets, thus the draw to me for coin magic. A very innocuous prop that packs very small, but can play very big.

Zoink, though I agree with you that you can have very proficient skill with coins if you practice and study very hard, I do also agree with David that the seasoning of time tends to clean your coin magic, make it much smoother. I have noticed that I personally often have much better skill with coins than many other magicians who don't focus on it to the degree I do, but it is astounding how much better you become as you get older. There is a level of maturity when matched with technical skill, makes for much better coin magic. Zoink, as you get older, if you continue with the coin magic, you will see how much of a better magician than you already are with coins.

As for my favorite coin sleight, it is so hard to pick one. Some are great because of the reaction they create; some are great because of the utility they provide. Something so simple as an open hand, palm up, catch retrieval of a coin out of no-where (that was secreted away in back thumb palm) can really catch a gasp from a spectator. Other sleights to conceal a coin, or invisibly transfer a coin don't get much of a response, but the utility is invaluable.

I think the value of a specific sleight rests only it what it accomplishes in the greater scheme of a routine. A classic palm is invaluable, a finger palm is invaluable, a false transfer, again invaluable. Are any greater than the others? If they are needed to create the desired effect there is not one I can choose to be greater than the others in the context of their use. What is more important to your body? Your hand? Your foot? Your eyes? Maybe your mouth? The truth is, how can you pick?

Regarding the discussion taken place on the muscle pass... What is the value of it? If it allows you to secretly throw a coin up into a coin purse, or a cup, or over to another hand, it is a great utility move. If it can catch the interest the gasps of spectators, it is useful as a showy move. I rarely have come across anyone who did not get stunned by the coin that falls up, many beg to instantly see it again. If I am to use the muscle pass, I prefer to incorporate it inside of a coin flurry routine, so that after it happens, the spectator's register it, but do not get the chance to dwell on it.

I think what Jon was asking was, where does the muscle pass have greater value? As a utility sleight or a flourish? In the grand scheme of things, what is the value of a coin roll out, or a coin roll, or any type of flourish (which an open and visual muscle pass can be considered). It is entertaining to see, and has value in my opinion. If you can be versatile enough to use it both ways….. all the better.
Lastly, some may know of me from the reviews I write for www.coinmagic.com (The Coin Puse), or my own website at www.coinvanish.com. If you have not visited either site, please do, if you like coin magic, both of these sites are dedicated solely to it. In the foundations section of www.coinvanish.com (after you answer a simple enough password question) there are essays I have written on a few choice fundamental pieces of coin magic, such as the classic palm. Many have written to tell me the essay has been invaluable in their learning of the concealment. In the same section I provide some known history on the muscle pass, and attempt to provide to the best of my ability how to do it. If this is something you have wanted to try, but could not, you still may never be able to do it, but there you can find some tips on it.

Thanks to all for a most entertaining thread,

Postby Eric DeCamps » 08/25/01 04:19 PM

Richard Kaufman writes:
DeCamps can tell you about Fujii's double click pass using the Muscle Pass. Truly artful and deceptive.

Richard is correct, what Mr. Fuji has done with the muscle pass is amazing. Of all of his applications of with the muscle pass my favorite is still the one he first showed me eight years ago in Japan, a simple coin vanish. A coin was placed in his open left palm. The right index finger goes to touch the coin and the coin visibly disappears without a trace. Simple yet elegant.

David Acer writes:
James Ceilen also developed a Muscle Click Pass which he uses to great effect in his Coins Across (see The Magic of Canada, Volume 2, from Stevens Magic Emporium). End transmission.


I have not had the privilege of viewing the referenced tape with James Ceiling's muscle click pass. However, I just thought I would mention that I also had a muscle pass/click/shuttle pass that was published, along with my complete handling, in the instructions for The Spinning Coins trick that was sold through Tannen's Magic Studio around 1987.

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Postby Guest » 08/26/01 06:04 AM

The muscle pass is a fantastic sleight that has been WORKED!

I've seen dozens of aplications, both open and covert, and honestly, most of them fall flat. But probably the coolest use I've seen was shown to me at the 94 TAOM by an extremely knowledgable cat named Dan Strange. He showed a coin openly upon his palm, and vanished it by simply waving a wand (ala Vernon) about a foot away from the coin. In a blink the coin was gone! And while I was aware of the MO, the visual was surreal...

Thank you Dan Strange.


Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/26/01 10:29 PM

Justin: That thing Dan Strange did sounds excellent! Anyone know him?
Eric: Fujii's Retention Vanish using the Muscle Pass will be in the November issue of Genii.
Great posts, guys!
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Postby Guest » 08/27/01 01:47 PM

I have to agree with Mr. Acer, Goshman's toss vanish is truly astounding.
Speaking of the muscle pass and other coin sleights........
A few years ago I developed a routine for the Coins Across plot in which I muscle pass the final coin into the spectators' hands. I also use a technique in the same routine that I have never seen in print. It is basically a shuttle pass with one hand. A coin on the palm is apparently tossed onto the table (or into the specs hands). I use the Classic palm and the Goshman/Tenkai Pinch to accomplish the switch of the coins.
If anyone knows the origins of this please let me know. I'm sure someone else has had the same idea.If you need more detailing on the sleight let me know I would be happy to oblige.

Postby Guest » 08/28/01 07:41 AM

I'm going to take "favourite" in the more transitory sense--what I like right now (as in "favourite" movie that might change depending on what's coming out). My favourite sleight of the moment is the Mutobe palm (printed in Kaufman's Five Times Five: Japan). When I originally read the sleight I said "no way." But then last new year I got to meet Mutobe-san while he was vacationing in Hawaii, and the move looks so good. Except for its angle issues, it's perfect for coins through hand or table and has a number of additional applications from spellbound (as in Five Times Five) and spider grip vanishes, to multiple coin vanishes.

Postby Sean Macfarlane » 08/28/01 11:12 PM

I'm currently using the coin thru glass(muscle pass) alot these days as I have a glass door in the nightclub that I'm working in, my timing is getting very good because I'm practicing and doing it alot, a friend gave me a good idea with it the other day which he attributed to Homer Liwag which involves actually bringing the coin to the other side of the glass( no Pass is made) and then throwing it through, you get absolut conviction of the coin being on the other side before it penetrates.I love it, peoples eyes flutter when they see this, it just can't be.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 08/29/01 07:35 PM

My favorite coin move is also my favorite move in all of magic -- the Striking Vanish.

I do it "on the downbeat" as Jay Sankey has lectured, not on the upbeat as Williamson and everybody else I've ever seen does it.

IMO this is very preferable. If you've never seen Jay (or me :-) do it this way check it out and decide for yourself.'

Second is probably Al Schneider's handling of Spellbound (at least I think it's Al's). This is so magical I just do it in the mirror for my own enjoyment.
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Postby Guest » 09/03/01 09:41 PM

I would have to say that my favorite coin move is a shuttle pass, , in the context of certain routine it keeps the idea of just hiding coins in your hands far far away.

Postby Guest » 09/11/01 11:15 AM

The Palm Change from CoinMagic.

I use this in the Roth Stand-up Copper/Silver with the Kaps in the spectator`s hand ending. The move originates from Earl `Presto` Johnson originally it was a dice switch. The touch on this sleight is to keep the thumb and first finger lightly pinched as you do the change. (Shown to me by David Roth.)

Best regards,
Rich Kameda

Postby Guest » 09/21/01 04:05 PM

I used to do the striking vanish and catch the coin in Goshman/Tenkai pinch. This is not at all practical fo the lay audience, but I have burned quite a few magicians (they thought I was sleeveing or something, but alas no sleeves were to be found among my personage.) My favorite vanish sequence would have to be Williamson's coin vanish (similsr to the Buffaloe vanish) where he slides it all around his wrist. It KILLS!!
Justin also has some incredible coin work that I have found to be quite fooling!



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