THOSE conjurers in this country who had the privilege of seeing Gen. Grant's film that was brought over by my friend Mystic Craig, saw some delightful pieces of deceptive magic. One that took my fancy was a trick with a miniature nest of boxes and a coin. One point in the handling did not appeal to me, and playing about with the boxes the following showy little routine was evolved.

The conjurer requests a spectator to lend him a shilling. The date is to be noted and a mark of tome sort made upon the coin so that future identification is made easy. The same spectator is then handed a small piece of tissue with the further request that he wraps the coin into a little parcel. Taking the wrapped coin with his right hand finger tips, the conjurer, with his left hand, takes from a hat a small circular box. The coin in its wrapping is placed inside and a lid is placed on top. The box is placed down momentarily whilst the performer picks up a handkerchief. The box is then placed beneath the handkerchief and given to the lender of the coin to hold. At this stage it is plain to the audience that the performer has nothing concealed in either of his hands. " I have another box in the hat," he says " and I would like you to hold this in your other hand." He then reaches inside the hat and removes a similar box which he hands to the lender.

The performer now introduces what he calls a lucky coin. It is a penny. Wrapping this in a small piece of paper he places it upon a tray, asking someone with a lighted cigarette to apply the burning end to the paper. There is a flash and it is seen that there neither paper nor penny upon the tray. " Just give the box you are holding to your neighbour for a moment and see what you have inside the box in which your shilling was placed. The spectator removes the hand kerchief and opening the box finds that inside there is the performer's penny wrapped in paper.

He is now instructed to open the other box. He does so and finds inside another box. On this being opened still another box and with a repetition a fourth, which upon being opened reveals a small parcel. With this unwrapped the spectator finds his original shilling !


Some flashpaper.

Two similar looking pennies

An opaque handkerchief

Two small nests of boxes, the smallest of which is capable of holding a shilling when wrapped in paper.

One hat

A metal ashtray


Cut two pieces of flashpaper so that they measure two and a half inches square. Another piece is cut measuring two inches square. Wrap one of the larger pieces around the penny.

Now take the outer box of one of the nests and inside it place the wrapped penny. Then replace the lid. This box is then placed underneath one corner of the handkerchief which can be loosely bunched on the right hand side of the table. On the left of the table is placed the hat. The ashtray is placed in the centre of the table.

The second nest is dealt with in a manner known to all those who saw the film. All the boxes are removed one at a time, and then the lids are nested and so are the boxes. This nest of boxes without lids is placed inside the hat. The nest of lids is then placed behind the hat.

Finally the lucky penny is placed in a pocket and the pieces of paper remaining, the smaller on top are placed on the ashtray.


The spectator is asked for the loan of a coin and whilst this is being brought to light and marked, the performer takes the smaller piece of flashpaper, handing it to the spectator with the further request that he wraps it around the coin. The little parcel is taken at the fingertips of the right hand whilst the left goes inside the hat and removes the nest of boxes. Very deliberately the parcel is placed inside, and then, the right hand quite empty reaches down takes hold of all the lids as one and places them on top of the nest of boxes. Because of the perfect fit, it appears that one lid has been placed on one box. The latter is now placed at the front of the table.

The right hand now takes the handkerchief and box concealed under the corner. The handkerchief is draped over the left arm as in Figure 1.

The box is retained in a fingerpalm position in the right hand. Taking the other box from the table with the right hand, the performer apparently places it behind the handkerchief. Actually what he does, immediately his right hand is out of sight is to push the nest of boxes into his left sleeve whilst the right hand travels forward taking the handkerchief in its trail. See Figure 2.

The action is most deceptive and the left hand fingers take hold of the centre of the handkerchief and the box beneath it. The left arm rises slightly to allow the nest to settle down to the elbow.

The performer walks forward and gives the handkerchief and box beneath it to the spectator who loaned the shilling. With the words " I have another box in the hat," the left hand reaches inside the hat. This action achieves its objective by allowing the nest of boxes to slide down the left sleeve into the performer's hand. The hand is now removed from the hat holding the box, which the spectator is asked to hold in his other hand.

The performer now takes his own penny from his pocket. The larger piece of flashpaper left is also taken and the coin wrapped inside, using the conventional coin fold. The little packet held by the right hand is wrapped against the table top and then the left hand comes across taking what appears to be the complete package. Actually all that is taken is the covering, the coin sliding into the fingers of the right hand which without any pause reaches down and picks up the ashtray. The latter is held so that it covers the coin and as the empty package is placed upon the tray, the coin in the right hand is pressed upwards and allowed to strike the bottom of the tray. To the audience this piece of audible misdirection gives evidence that the coin is still within the wrapping. A spectator with a cigarette is asked to place the lighted tip against the paper. There is a flash nothing being left on the tray it appearing that both paper and coin have disintegrated.

Still holding the tray in his right hand, the spectator is asked to abandon temporarily one box whilst he unwraps the handkerchief and sees what is inside the box he has been holding. Of course he finds the performer's penny, wrapped in paper, and this is taken back on the ashtray and placed on the table, the duplicate coin being left underneath. Finally the nest of boxes is opened and inside the innermost is found the missing shilling piece!

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