The Retention Pass

I would've described this handling in David's secion, but he decided to release it only after the rest of the book had been set in type. It's necessary to use it for the routine which follows. This text is basically a transcript of a tape Roth made in which he described the move to me. It's based on Dai Vernon's A Coin Vanish which appears on p. 30 of Modern-Coin Magic.

"The first thing is that the coins must be shiny - that's very important. It's better with silver than copper, and it absolutely has to do with the amount of light bouncing off the coin.

"Your right hand holds a half dollar between the thumb and first two fingers so that as much of the coin is exposed as possible. Your right hand lowers the coin onto your left hand between the bases of your first and second fingers. Well, you don't actually place it on your hand - but the back of your right thumb nail does touch momentarily (fig. 1021 is an audience view). One of the biggest mistakes everyone makes is trying to do the move on the way to the left hand.

"The reason you don't actually lower the coin itself onto the hand is so that a space remains between it and the palm. Later on, when you steal the coin, that space will speed up the action so the coin won't scrape against your left hand as it's turning over.

"Okay, so your right hand comes over and appears to place the coin on your left palm - but don't let go of it, and don't pause either. Immediately begin to curl your left fingers until your left pinky touches your right pinky (fig. 1022 is an exposed view). At that moment you know that your left fingers are forming an adequate screen for the move.

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"While your right thumb and first finger continue to lightly grasp the coin, your second and third fingers extend, moving onto the coin's face (fig. 1023 is an exposed view). They do not have to extend all the way across the coin's face - just as far as they can comfortably go.

"Now, simply curl your second and third fingers, the coin in fingertip rest. Your thumb and first finger do not move or bend in any way (fig. 1024). There's a tremendous tendency to pull back with your first finger, but that causes the knuckle to pop up and you'll always spot a Retention Pass because of that. A simple act of will - a conscious effort - not to move your thumb or first finger is necessary.

"You don't even begin to move your right second and third fingers over the coin until it feels like there is no room to do the sleight. Once your second and third fingers have pulled the coin into fingertip rest your right hand moves away, slightly lifting the thumb (fig. 1025). With some practice the illusion is perfect: it's all in the timing.

It takes a different type of construction in an effect to fool other magicians - this routine was created for that purpose. All you do is vanish four coins using an apparently identical Retention Pass each time. Now, even if you know just the tiniest bit about coin magic it's obvious that problems arise, such as where to put each coin so the following one doesn't hit it and make noise.

You must be standing with the four coins on a table in front of you. Show your hands empty. Pick up the first coin and do a Retention Pass into your left hand. Afterward your right hand drops to your side with the coin in fingertip rest. Crumple your left fingers and open your left hand to reveal the vanish.

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