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If the spectator names either the nickle or the penny, pick that coin up from the lid and gesture with it as you say something like, "You had total freedom in choosing a coin; yet this is the coin you decided upon." Then place the coin back on the lid again. This action of course releases the matching coin from beneath the lid so it may fall silently onto the cotton pad inside the box. This procedure is not necessary if the dime is chosen.

(If you are using magnetic and steel-core coins rather than shells, you can have the spectator pick up the chosen coin himself. This does not greatly enhance the effect; but there is a perverse and secret satisfaction in having the spectator unwittingly perform the trick for you.)

It only remains to lift the lid from the box and show that you have predicted his choice of coin by placing a duplicate coin inside the box. If the nickle or penny has been chosen, its mate will be resting on the cotton pad when the lid is removed. If the dime was chosen, have the spectator lift the cotton pad from the bottom of the box to reveal the second dime.

Explain that what has been accomplished is something a mindreader might do. However, a magician would approach the problem differently.

At this point in the routine one of two alternative procedures is followed, depending on the spectator's choice of coin. If either the nickle or penny was chosen, simply pocket the chosen coin and its mate. Then replace the lid on the box with the other two coins still resting on it.

If the dime was chosen the lid of the box is placed on the open palm of the free hand. Ask that the spectator name another of the coins. The one left unnamed is eliminated. He must of course choose either the nickle or the penny. Pick up the unnamed coin from the lid and pocket it. This will secretly release the duplicate of this coin onto the fingers under cover of the lid. Finger Palm this dropped coin as the other hand takes the lid and replaces it on the box.

Thus, you have arrived at a similar situation no matter which procedure is required. The lid is back on the box with the dime and one of the magnetic coins resting on it. The twin of this magnetic coin still clings to the underside of the lid.

Ask for one last decision. The spectator must name either of the remaining coins. The second he does so, go to your pocket and cleanly remove the steel card with the message and value that matches his choice. If you have a coin Finger Palmed it is left in the pocket as the card is withdrawn. (Be sure the coin does not cling to the card.) Keep the back of the card to the spectators.

Bring the card over the lid of the box and snap it flat against the coins resting there. Immediately lift the card. The magnetic coin will cling to it. Only the dime is left on the lid!

Pause a few moments for the vanish of the one coin to be absorbed. Then lift the lid to reveal that the vanished coin has penetrated the box! This moment provides strong misdirection for you to drag the magnetic coin from the face of the card and palm it.

To cap the effect draw attention to the card; then snap it face-up so its value and message can be read.

There is a nice touch of psychology running throughout Steve's routining. Notice how the few weak points in the routine are ramified by the overall effect. The spectator's first choice is an obviously free one. The later choice between the dime and remaining coin has an element of equivoque in that it is not specified whether the named coin will penetrate the lid or remain upon it. However, this is covered perfectly, following in the shadow of the free first choice, the shock of the penetration and the kicker of the unexpected message on the card.

Also, there is so much that happens in this routine it is highly unlikely anyone will recall that the card was removed from your pocket after the choice of coin was made. It is always a delight to see so much magic managed from such simple means.

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