XWJ AY BACK on page 37 of Volume 7 of the yftf Pentagram, my good friend Jack Avis contributed a very nice coin item which he titled, " Your Choice." Since that time, liking the plot very much, I have played around with a number of versions. In each and every one, simplification of working and elimination of unnecessary moves has been the aim, and in the method to be described, there is, strangely enough, no sleight of hand at all. In fact it almost becomes a self working coin trick.
This remains the same as that described by Jack, but if you haven't the necessary copy of the Pentagram handy, we'll give it briefly. A two shilling piece and a penny are borrowed, each being marked by the lender. They are placed together under cover of a handkerchief which with its contents is held at the fingertips. One of the spectators is now asked to state whether he prefers copper or silver. According to his answer one of the coins is removed from under the fold and held in the hand. We'll suppose that it is the penny. The handkerchief containing the florin is now dropped into a glass. With a muttered, " Hocus Pocus," the penny changes into the florin which is returned to the lender, whilst the person who loaned the penny is asked to take the handkerchief and retrieve his property.
One florin. A cambric handkerchief. A stemmed goblet.
The florin is on the table and just above and concealing it lies one corner of the handkerchief. The goblet is placed near the front edge of the table.
The left hand takes the handkerchief and coin as one from the table, the coin is settled into a finger palm position whilst the right hand comes across and takes the handkerchief. This is done in a casual idle fashion, and the performer goes on to ask for the loan of the two coins stressing upon the would-be lenders the need for marking them in such a way that they will easily recognise them later. With the coins forthcoming, the handkerchief is replaced on the table. The left hand takes the penny at the fingertips whilst the right takes the florin. Each coin is balanced upon the second finger of each hand as in Figure 1.
The performer demonstrates to his audience a little known fact, namely, that by allowing the edges of the coins to lightly touch each other a clear ringing sound is produced. The real purpose of this by-play however is to let the audience see that only two coins are in play, for whilst this is being done the finger palmed florin is perfectly concealed.
Having demonstrated this curiosity, the thumb slides the penny back on to the fingers so that it covers the palmed florin. The florin in the right hand is now tossed on top of the penny and the left hand drops slightly so that the two coins can be seen. (Figure 1)
The left hand comes across and with the thumb undermost and the first and second fingers on top the three coins are lifted from the left hand, and as they are brought up to shoulder height the florin belonging to the spectator is pushed towards the left whilst the performer's florin lies hidden behind the penny as in Figure 2.
The left hand now takes the handkerchief and the right hand places the coins within its folds. Actually, immediately cover is afforded by the handkerchief, the hidden florin is pushed forward so that the coins are in the position shown in Figure 3.
The left hand grips them all through the handkerchief in this position and the right hand comes from underneath genuinely empty. The choice of a coin is asked for, and according to what is named the performer either leaves or takes it away for actually he must reach under the handkerchief and apparently withdraw the florin. Actually when his right hand goes under and into the folds he takes his own florin and the penny, the latter being hidden whilst the former is shown. The actual position is shown in Figure 3.
The left hand now drops the handkerchief and coin within it into the glass goblet, allowing the coin to strike the glass through the handkerchief just before it goes in.
The left hand comes across to take the florin from the right and this manner of take is important. At the actual moment that the left hand reaches the right the latter is almost palm uppermost, whilst the left hand fingers point down as in Figure 4.
The left hand thumb and second finger grip the edges of the exposed florin, bnt simultaneously the right second finger slides the penny forward so that it lies immediately under the half crown. The left hand, moving a little to the left, maintains the position of holding the coin at the finger tips, whilst the right hand moves away and picks up the goblet by the stem. With a muttered incantation, the left hand is raised and held so that the penny is seen held by the thumb and finger, the florin being perfectly concealed. Momentarily placing down the goblet, the penny is taken by the right hand whilst the florin drops back into a finger palm position. All that now remains is for the lender of the florin to remove the handkerchief from the goblet and find inside it his original piece of money.
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