Scott Weiser

Another clever offbeat plot and method. You need a two-sided purse frame (which is simply a purse frame that has two compartments from which you've removed the bag). You also need a regular silver coin, an expanded silver shell, and two Chinese coins that are the same size as the half dollar and will fit in the shell. You can substitute copper coins for the Chinese if you like. You must be seated at a table opposite the audience. Place the silver coin in your lap. Place the silver shell over one of the Chinese coins and place the other Chinese coin on top of that. Finger palm that two-coin stack (with the shell on the innermost coin, shell-side outward) in your left hand (fig. 711). The double purse frame lies on the table.

Your left hand rests in a relaxed fist on the table while your right hand lifts the purse frame and displays it to the audience. Place the purse frame into your left hand (which is held palm toward you), held between your thumb base and the tips of your first and second fingers (fig. 712). Say, "As you can see this purse frame has two compartments. One compartment was manufactured in The United States, the other in China. Even stranger is the fact that each compartment produces coins indigenous to its own country. I'll show You."

Say, "If I open the American compartment I'll produce a half dollar." Your right hand snaps open one of the two compartments. Reach inside with your thumb, first, and second fingers and grasp the shelled Chinese coin (fig. 713). Pull it out of the purse frame and lay it, shell side up, on the table just to the left.

Continue, ". ..and that leaves nothing there." As you say that you perform a subtlety of Johnny Paul's. Turn your right hand palm down and insert your first, second, and third fingers into the frame (fig. 714). Now turn your hands palm toward audience and wiggle your right fingers (fig. 715 is the spectators' view). Almost immediately lower and turn your hands back to their original positions and pull your fingers out of the purse. That whole bit takes only a second, but it's a terrific visual convincer because both hands appear to be completely empty.

Continue, "But if we look into the Chinese compartment we find a Chinese coin." Your right fingers snap open the other compartment and reach inside. Pull the Chinese coin that's in finger palm out of the purse and table it about four inches to the right of the shell.

Extend your left hand toward the spectator giving him the purse frame to examine. As you do, your right hand drops to your lap and classic palms the silver coin. Immediately raise it back onto the table, where it rests in a relaxed fist. Lean forward to take the purse frame back with your left hand. Raise your right hand and snap open one of the compartments and regrip the purse with your left thumb, first, and second fingertips (fig. 716).

Say, "Stranger still, these compartments remain loyal to their own country." Turn your right hand palm down, fingers together and straight, and lower them onto the Chinese coin that's on the table (fig. 717). Slide it toward you until it falls off the table and into your lap (fig. 718). Immediately curl your fingers inward and allow the classic palmed silver to drop to fingertip rest. Move your thumb onto it and simultaneously turn your hand palm up and straighten your fingers, your thumb holding the silver coin in place behind them (fig. 719).

Continue, "If I take the Chinese coin and drop it through the American compartment it turns into a half dollar." As you say, ". . . it turns. . .," turn your right hand palm down directly over the purse. Drop the half dollar through, allowing it to fall onto the table (fig. 720). Show both hands empty.

Close the open compartment and open the other one. Your right hand picks up the shelled Chinese coin it rests on your first and second fingers (fig. 721). Your thumb moves onto the inner end and levers it upward so that it faces directly toward the audience, your hand partially palm up (fig. 722).

Move your right hand in front of the purse so that your right pinky hugs the frame (fig. 723). Say, "And, likewise, if I drop the half dollar into the Chinese compartment it turns into a Chinese coin." As you talk turn your right hand inward, palm toward you - gravity will pull the Chinese coin out of the shell and it'll fall through tile purse onto the table (fig. 724). It's a simple wrist turn.

Now, two things happen simultaneously - and both as soon as the Chinese coin hits the table. Your left hand tosses the purse outward onto the table and your right hand swings inward, tossing the shell into your lap (fig. 725). It immediately reverses direction, moving outward in a palm-up gesture (fig. 726). You're clean and everything is examinable.

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