Leipzig's Pride," "the Stack of Coins" "The Cap and Pence" — although this classic effect has had many different names down through the years, it has always been a powerful close up effect and a real audience-pleaser. More recently, it has seen a bit of a revival, thanks largely to routines by John Carney and Johnny Thompson, as well as Roger Klause's "Whisper" (which uses a modified gaff).
There is an old and seemingly overlooked book co-authored by Al Koran and Jack LaMonte, Mastered Amazement. They have a unique and interesting take on this classic effect, and it is their routine that inspired mine.
Effect: Seven quarters are introduced and fairly shown on all sides. The quarters are placed in a stack on the back of Jordan's hand. A dollar bill, folded so that it forms a cylinder, is placed over the stack of coins. You let go of the bill and make a mystic pass over the covered coins. Following this, you instruct Jordan to carefully lift the bill with his other hand. When he does, to his amazement the coins have magically changed into US copper pennies! Your hands are empty and everything may be examined!
Requirements and preparation: You need a stack of quarters gaff, a steel core (or shimmed) quarter and some magician's wax (all available from magic dealers), a small, strong (rare earth) magnet and a band-aid for my Ringless Omega Ring ("ROR"--see the notes after the explanation) or one of the magnetic finger rings available from dealers, a dollar bill and seven pennies. In the photos, I'm using a Canadian quarter rather than a duplicate steel coin and scotch tape instead of a band-aid so you can follow things more easily.
Put a little wax on the tail side of the steel core quarter. Smear it out flat evenly across the coin. Load the pennies into the stack of quarters (photo 223) and then set the stack onto the head side of the prepared quarter. Place this stack into the ticket pouch in your right side coat pocket, the top of the stack down.
Set up the ROR or put the gaffed ring on your left hand.
Finally, fold the dollar bill as follows. Fold it in half lengthwise (face of Washington inside the fold) and crease firmly (photo 224). Turn the bill so that "The United States of America" is facing you at the top, the fold at the bottom. Curl the ends around to meet each other and tuck the left end into the fold of the right end, such that the right edge lines up with the edge of the large "N" in "ONE" and is at the beginning of "God" in the line "In God We Trust." Refer to photo 225.
Put this folded bill in the pocket with the coins.
Method and performance: Bring out the stack with the extra quarter on the bottom, covering the opening and the pennies. Freely show the stack on all sides as you talk about the magic of money. Ask Jordan to hold out his hand and to make a fist, keeping the back of his hand upward. Place the stack of coins on his hand toward the wrist and slide it forward a bit. The extra quarter at the bottom will stay in place (due to friction), and the rest of the stack will slide off it (photo 226). The pennies will "talk" a bit here—this is good as it audibly sells the fact (?) that the quarters are normal. Pick up the extra quarter and replace it on top of the stack, pressing down on it to cause the wax to adhere it to the stack.
Reach into your pocket and bring out the folded dollar bill. Explain that, although paper money is structurally less strong than metal coins, it is more powerful—just as "Paper" beats "Rock" in the old child's game "Rock-Paper-Scissors." As you talk, start to cover the coins with the bill-cylinder. Pretend to have some difficulty, and bring your left hand over the top of the bill to help press it over the stack as the right hand moves to the side to "steady" the coins. Jostle the bill and stack around just a bit, and in the process, allow the magnet on your left hand to dip into the top opening of the bill (photo 227).
The steel quarter will jump up to the magnet, taking the gaffed stack along with it, thanks to the wax (photo 228), leaving the stack of pennies behind. Because you are moving the stack around a bit and pushing down on the back of Jordan's hand slightly with your right hand, he will not notice the stack lifting away from his hand.
Hold the bill in place with your right hand as your left hand lifts the stack out of the bill, turning toward yourself and fingers curling in to hide the quarters (photo 229). Casually drop your left hand to your side as you focus all your concentration on the bill and coins on Jordan's hand, your right hand gesturing toward them as you say the magic word, "Inflation! Inflation! Inflation!"
Ask Jordan to slowly and carefully lift the bill, gesturing toward it to allow your empty right palm to be seen. As he lifts the bill and everyone's attention is focused on him, simply ditch the stack in your left pants pocket. This is very easy, not only because of the misdirection of the revelation of the pennies, but also because the stack is essentially one solid mass. Therefore, you simply need to be at the opening of the pocket and "wipe" the stack off the magnet (photo 230), allowing it to drop noiselessly into the pocket.
The hand never actually enters the pocket, and the audience later assumes that there would have been noise if you had tried to ditch seven quarters!
Immediately after dumping the stack, bring the left hand up with the right to Jordan's hand and knock the stack of pennies over. Take the bill from him, unfold it, and hand it back to him. He can examine everything until the cows come home—and even until they go back out to the club again tomorrow!
Below is the explanation of the "Ringless Omega Ring," taken directly from my book, Never Miss a Trick (now out of print).
Dave Harlin created the "Omega Ring," and John Altpeter invented the "MasteRing." Each of these is an incredible prop. They are very nice finger rings with built-in powerful magnets, so you can perform a chop cup routine with a regular cup and do all sorts of other fun stuff.
At a recent lecture in my home, Allan Ackerman did a few routines utilizing the Omega Ring. He commented that people had noticed the bar on the underside (magnet) and asked to see the ring, because it was so unusual. Allan's solution to this problem was to wrap a band-aid around the bar. He stated that it is common practice for people to use a band-aid to help a ring that is too large to fit better. He went on to say that you could just buy a magnet and attach it to your ring with a band-aid and save $75-150, which is what the gaffed rings cost.
I personally had never heard of sizing a ring with a bandage, but it got me thinking. Why bother with the ring at all? Why not just get a small rare earth magnet and attach it to your finger with a band-aid? I think just about anyone would agree that a band-aid on a finger is perfectly natural and ordinary. Plus, if you cover the magnet with the gauze part of the bandage, the extra cushioning prevents the magnet from "talking." I decided I really had something here. But what if you need to take it off for a different routine or something? I've come up with a solution for that.
Here's how to prepare the gimmick. Get some thin steel (or other metal that will attract a magnet). Cut out a piece slightly smaller than the band-aid you will use (and make sure to sand the edges so they won't cut you or you'll really need the bandage!). You want a size that doesn't quite reach all the way around your finger. If you can't find a suitable size, trim one, using another band-aid as a template for the curved ends. Stick the band-aid onto the trimmed metal, and slide the magnet under the gauze pad. You may want to paint the metal the color of your skin, or get some adhesive tape that matches the band-aid and cover the metal with it. Bend the metal around the bottom joint of your ring or middle finger with the magnet (gauze) on the palm side. You're ready to wow them! And when you need to remove it, you can just bend the strip and ditch it quickly. To put it on again, just bend the strip back to conform to your finger.
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