Close Up Magic

"Coins of Lucifer"

I wonder if you, dear reader, ever saw that not-much-of-a-puzzle with a match box and a coin? As I have no means of knowing whether you ever did or didn't, and as you won't know to what I'm referring unless I go into details, I'd better explain it. You took an empty matchbox, and, pushing the drawer up from the cover about a quarter of an inch, so that you could just peep inside the box, you then pushed a coin upwards between the box and the cover and left it showing about a quarter of an inch. You then held the box by its long narrow edges between the fingers and thumb of one hand. Part of the box was sticking up above the top of the cover and part of the coin was showing below the edge of the cover.

At this stage you explained to the victim how it would be obvious that, if you hit the box a sharp rap on the top, that would be sufficient to make the coin fall to the table. Whether such was obvious or not, you immediately gave the top of the box a sharp blow with the forefinger of the other hand, knocking the box back inside the cover, but, instead of the coin falling to the table, it just disappeared—inside the box. The downward blow on the box was sufficient to jerk the coin upwards, and inside, that's all!

Yes, that's all! But I hope to convince you that some of these small things can be turned to good advantage, with a little thought. This simple puzzle gave me the basis from which to work out a nice little Close-Quarter Effect, at least, I think it is good. If you will take the trouble to make it up for yourself, I'm sure you will carry it around and use it on many occasions. Let us see what the effect is, as viewed by the spectator.

The performer shows a box part full of matches and pushing open the drawer he draws attention to the fact that all the match heads are facing one way. Holding the box by its long narrow edges; he carefully pushes down the drawer until the heads of the matches are just visible, the box being open about a quarter of an inch. Taking up a penny, he carefully pushes it into the lower end of the box, between the box proper and the cover, until a small portion of the coin is all that is seen. He explains that he is about to strike the top of the box forcibly in order to knock in the drawer, which might have the effect of dropping the coin on to the table.

The box is given a blow, the drawer goes back in place and the coin vanishes, inside the box. The performer rattles the box in proof, and carefully lays it on the table. Yes, I know, you've just read all that in the previous paragraphs, but read on.

"Using a penny", the performer explains, "that might be termed a cheap trick, so, to make it a little more expensive, let's do it again, but this time with a two shilling piece". Taking another box of matches, he goes through exactly the same procedure as before, showing the matches to be all one way, part closing the box, inserting a coin (this time a florin), striking the top of the box, and vanishing the coin, rattling the box and laying it down to the left of the first box.


Now comes the climax. Taking the first box, he places it on the table, end on to the spectators and slowly pushes out the drawer. The cover is shown empty and placed aside. The box is then lifted to show a coin resting on top of the matches. BUT INSTEAD OF IT BEING THE PENNY, IT IS SEEN TO BE THE TWO SHILLING PIECE. This is carefully lifted out and laid in front of the box, the matches tipped out and replaced, the cover is put on the box and the latter is placed in the pocket.

Turning to the second box, presumably containing the florin, he pushes out the drawer, shows the cover to be empty, and from the top of the matches he takes out, THE PENNY, which coin is also placed in front of its box. The matches are tipped out of the box, the latter shown empty, the matches replaced, box placed inside the cover and the lot placed into the pocket. The coins remain on the table.

In taking the coins from their respective boxes, the performer has done this so carefully as to cause the spectators to suspect that there might be something fishy about them, probably they are double-sided, penny on one side, florin on the other. They've heard of such things, and, at any rate, conjurers do think on these lines !

The climax comes when each coin, in turn, is turned over to show its other side, another suspicion is proved unfounded, and, pocketing the coins the performer goes into the usual close-up effects, such as the Four Aces, or the Cups and Balls. At least he has been different, just for once !

I suppose by now you will want to know the how and what. How it is done and what you will require. If we deal with the latter first it will go a long way towards explaining the former, so— first of all you will need the necessary coins, two pennies and two florins.

The two match boxes are faked, so you will need an extra two, four in all. This is how. Discard the two drawers and the matches from the extra boxes. They are not needed, at least not in this effect. Taking the two extra covers, carefully cut off the back of each cover so that a three sided piece remains. That is, a front and two long sides. These two fakes have to be attached, one each, to the two match boxes to be used, but, before gluing them in place, the cardboard is thinned off, from the inside, on the three edges to be gummed. This is best done using sandpaper, even the striking edge of one of the other boxes, or even a razor blade. This 'trimming' is done along the two edges you have just cut and along the top edge of the cover. The sketch will make all this clear.

*g 3 Sided shell («Iwd wto* shaded) Shows cut-out Crescent before shell is — glued oa.

View froi


coin ia the ready tb be upwards as open box Sharply

below (not showing pocket jerked the

Before glueing the fake in place, take one of the boxes to be used, push out the drawer half way and cut a crescent shaped portion from the bottom centre edge of the cover. This is to facilitate the positioning of the coin and also to aid in its removal later on.

Now glue all round the trimmed edges, about a quarter inch will be sufficient and place this fake over the cover of the box to be used, pressing the trimmed and glued edges well down, so that no double edge is apparent. Thus you will have a double cover, or almost, for it will be double on three of its four sides. Before the glue sets properly. take a penny and place it between the unglued double edges of the cover, at the bottom, and press it well home. This opens the double front into a small inverted pocket. Allow the glue to dry and remove the coin, the crescent cut out from the match box cover helping you to grasp the coin. The second match box and fake are treated likewise, and that is all the fixing that is necessary. With care in making, you will have two match boxes which will last you for years.

To prepare for the effect, about half fill each box with matches, replace the faked covers so that the pocket openings are at the ends opposite the heads of the matches. This positioning of the matches has nothing whatever to do with the actual working of the trick, but does give a reasonable excuse for the manner in which the boxes are opened, apparently to show the "matches are all heads upwards". Place a florin in one box, on top of the matches and place this box in the right coat pocket, together with a penny. Place a penny in the second box, place this in the left coat pocket, together with a loose florin and you are set.

Ready ? Reach in the right coat pocket and remove the box only. Hold it in the left hand between the fingers and thumb, so that one end of the box (the unfaked end, obviously) is upwards. With the right finger push up the drawer, almost half way, to show that the "matches are all heads upwards", but do not expose the coin in the box.

Close the drawer down to within a quarter of an inch, and then take the penny from the right pocket and insert it upwards, apparently between the box and the cover, but really into the pocket formed by the double faced cover. Leave about a quarter inch of the coin showing. Patter on the possibility of the coin falling to the table, then, with the right forefinger, strike forcibly downwards along the full width of the protruding box. This closes the box, of course and, apparently, jerks the coin into the box. A trial or two with an ordinary box and a coin will soon get you into the knack. If the coin does not "vanish" easily into the pocket of the cover with one sharp blow, it will be wise to ease open the pocket a little more with a table knife or thin ruler.

Having "vanished" the coin lay the box on the table, unfaked end towards the audience, and proceed with the second box from the left pocket. Lay the second box to the left of the first and about a foot away. Returning to the first box, hold the cover on the table and push out the drawer towards the spectators, Take up the cover in the finger and thumb and show it end on to the audience. The thumb or finger tip will effectively conceal the portion of coin which may be showing inside the cover at the cut-out crescent. Place the cover down, again, unfaked end towards the audience, and immediately, with the finger and thumb, remove the coin from the box, placing it in front. Do this very gingerly, as though anxious that only one side of the coin be seen.

Take up the drawer from the table, tip out the matches on to the left hand, show the box empty, replace the matches and then the cover and drop the box into the pocket. Deal with the box on the left in the same manner, and finally, slowly turn over each coin to show genuine and pocket the coins. If you are of the type that likes to prolong the agony by giving things out to be examined, then you may, if you wish, bring out a duplicate box from each pocket and allow a spectator to have a go. He might manage to jerk the coin into the box, indeed he most certainly will, for that part of the puzzle is easy, but I hope he won't be able to explain the transposition. For my part, I prefer to break straight away into another effect and thus give them something else to think about, and, if you will take my advice, that is what you will do. Why hold the show up while a spectator tries his hand ? Besides, that way, it will cost you another couple of match boxes, or doesn't that matter ?

The routine has one significant point. It gets rid of the faked portion first, and attention is then drawn to the remaining part of the effect, and, by the time the two coins, now the only objects seen in the effect, have been turned over to show their other sides, the boxes are safely away, and you are ready and clean, for the next effect.

Yours Magically,

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