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LFFLCT - You cover a borrowed quarter with a small square of aluminum foil (which can be initialed). You carefully rub the foil with your fingertips to create a rubbing which replicates the heads-up the engraved image of George is copied onto the foil. The detailed heads engraving takes a bit of time... You drop out the real heads-up quarter onto someone's hand. She turns it tails up...and the fragile foil head imprint suddenly turns tails up too!

The disembodied shape peers out from the empty square of foil - preparing to surrender to the shape of astonishment.

5LCR.LT r^lL FACT - Carefully sculpted coin rubbings will completely re-sculpt into other shapes with just a quick press of your thumb.

5TLP ¿?|\|L - Get out a fresh three-inch square of foil and borrow a quarter. (Any hunk of fresh foil will work. It doesn't have to be square or three inches. This just gives us something to talk about.) If you feel the need you can have your spectator initial one corner of the foil with a Sharpie. Openly place the quarter heads-side up on your left fingertips and cover it with the foil (FIG. 1).

Hold the foil steady as you use both thumbs to make the heads-up imprint as in FIG. 2.

Take at least twenty seconds to complete the "not so easy" sculpting process. (In reality, you could just press down on the coin to instantly engrave the foil, but to properly position the spectator's mind, it must look like it takes some serious effort and time to make the rubbing.) I like to let the spectator give the final image a few rubs herself to give it the personal touch.

6TE.P TVi* - As your thumbs put in the finishing rubs your right fingers secretly flip the quarter under the foil so its tails-side up. To flip the quarter, allow its right edge to swing down a bit. (Your left fingers hold its opposite edge against the foil.)

As the fingers of both hands adjust the foil, your right fingertips press against the coin's lower edge to secretly flip it over. The foil gives you plenty of cover for this non-move. Adjust the foil to make sure the rubbing lines up with the top of the coin. Display the heads-up rubbing. Point out a few details like the date and the expression on George's face. You want everyone to remember that the foil imprint is of a heads-up quarter.

6TE-P TJ-lR-E-E- - Openly press the right side of your right thumb firmly against half of the rubbing as in FIG. 3. (Your right thumb now covers half of the eagle.) If you peeked at the rubbing now half of it would be transformed to the tail-side image.

Hold the foil and its covered coin with your right fingers as your left hand lets go to reach out and direct someone to hold out a palm-up hand. As your left hand gently grasps her hand, your right thumb secretly rolls across the rest of the rubbing exactly as if you were laying down an inked thumbprint. This thumb position obscures the new etched image. This secret thumb-press happens in a flash..and is completely covered by the act of reaching out for the spectator's hand (FIG. 4).

6TE-P fOVR. - Direct the spectator to place her palm-up hand about two inches beneath the foil as you allow the covered coin to drop from your right fingertips..where it will do a half-turn and land heads-up onto her palm. This invisible turn over will be automatic as long as the coin was held at its edge before the drop. To your spectator, you made a heads-up rubbing..then dropped the heads-up coin onto her hand. If by chance the coin lands tails-up its no big deal. Just turn the coin over as you reposition it on her hand.

6TE-P HN/E. - Casually move the foil away from her hand as you tell her to turn over the heads-up coin to show its tails side. Have her cover the coin with her other hand and tell her to concentrate on trying to make a good impression. Allow your right thumb to move away from its cover position as you wave the foil over her hands (and tails-up quarter). Wave the foil just fast enough to keep the tails-rub-bing a's still supposed to be heads-up. Bring the foil to a gradual stop to transform the "heads-up" rubbing into a tails (FIG. 5).

!\k?TEL - Instead of using your thumb to hide the changed imprint you can just clip the edge of the foil between your thumb and forefinger and let it hang with its edge toward your audience.

fO\\- FACT - You will get crisper transformations when you use a new unwrinkled square of foil...(heavy duty is better).

• Work-Shopped with ANDRÉ HAGEN, one of Madison's premier neat guys. Years of experience have taught André that very few things in life are actually worth doing. Camping in the desert and contemplating the shape of astonishment are among his chosen few.

P\\00J\\0J^. - To make it easier to align the flipped-over coin with the rubbing:

As you start to make the rubbing, bend one side of the foil down right at the coin's edges. This creates a tactile guide to keep the flipped-over coin In alignment.


Once you've made a coin rubbing, the change can be to anything. By gluing bits of stuff to the other side of a double-headed coin you can make numbers or initials or evocative images etch themselves onto the first normal heads-up rubbing. Maybe the first image could weirdly distort and change shape. Instead of a coin you could work with an etched medallion or a piece of jewelry or an engraved piece of stone or a hunk of fossil or I don't know what. Just don't limit's not your natural shape.

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