Ace Assembly or Four Aces Trick is a classic plot in card magic in which the four aces, placed down on the table, magically assemble onto a "leader" ace.
History and variations
In the same period, between 1857 and 1875, Hofzinser created what would become known as MacDonald's Aces for the final of an effect called The Power of Faith gimmicked cards. The precise date is not known, but it was eventually published in J.N. Hofzinser Kartenkunste (1910) written by Ottokar Fischer and translated in English as Hofzinser's Card Conjuring) by S.H. Sharpe in 1931.
Quote : On the 27th December 1884, before the members of the Savage Club, London, Eugene Verbeck (1844-1905) presented this trick : Showing the four aces he dealt them (apprently) face downwards on the four corners of the table, then placed professedly three indifferent cards on each. He then had two chosen, then one of remainder, usual equivoque, and caused all four aces to be found together in last head. He then said he would repeat the experiment with the cards face upward. Accordingly he asked someone to pick out the four queens and to see that there were no others in the pack. He then dealt out apparently the four Queens face upward and then added to each three low cards, placing then fanwise and face upwards...etc., etc...
One of the first to have the Aces move one at time (rather then disappear all at once) was Stanley Collins' Another Four Ace Trick in The Magazine of Magic, Vol. 1, No. 1, oct. 1914, page 40. Reprint in J.G. Thompson, Jr.'s book My Best (1945) as The Alpha Four Ace Trick, page 131.
Another variation dubbed O'Henry Four Aces by Frank Garcia's in Super Subtle Card Miracles (1973) added a surprise ending by having the aces joined the final ace in its packet. It was first featured in the Trevor Lewis' prize-winning act for the Magic Circle in 1969.
Another surprise ending is the "Backfire Assembly" or "Reverse Assembly" in which the Aces then travel back to their original packets.
Progressive (or Succession) Aces is a variation of the plot by Ken Krenzel in which the first ace joins the second, then those two join the third and finally all arrive in the last packet in sequence.
Lin Searles created the variation where the Aces had a different color back then the rest of the cards in Ultimate Aces (1958). This is some times also call a Technicolor Assembly.
One of the most popular marketed Ace Assembly was MacDonald's Aces.
Versions in print using normal cards
- The Exclusive Coterie from the card trick section of Expert at the Card Table (1902)
- Slow-Motion Aces by Dai Vernon (aces move one by one) (published in The Sphinx, Vol. 40, No. 1, march 1941 as "Mobilizing the Aces"").
- Edward Marlo's Bluff Ace Assembly from Ireland's Year Book 1955.
- Ultimate Aces by Lin Searles (Aces are different colors) (1958)
- Dai Vernon's The Four Blue Backed Aces in Dai Vernon's Further Secrets of Card Magic written by Lewis Ganson (1961)
- Progressive Aces by Ken Krenzel. Published in Epilogue Special #2: Ken Krenzel Issue. The first ace joins the second, then those two join the third and finally all arrive in the last packet in sequence (1975).
- Multiple Cop Progressive Aces by Ken Krenzel. Published in The Card Classics of Ken Krenzel (Harry Lorayne, 1978).
- Al Koran Koran's Solo Aces in Routined Manipulation, Vol. 1 written by Lewis Ganson (1950).
- Domenech's Aces by Pablo Domenech. Published in Real Magic (Jose de la Torre, 1978)
- The Evaporating Aces, by Cliff Green. Published in Professional Card Magic (Green, 1979)
- Stencel Aces by Bob Stencel published in Richard's Almanac, Vol. 3. Feb. 1985.
- "JC's Collins Aces and JC's Collins Kings" in The Commercial Magic of J.C. Wagner  written by Mike Maxwell (1987).
- Dyslexic Queens by J.C. Wagner
- Natural Aces by Ken Krenzel. Published in Genii 2007 April
Versions in print with gaffed cards
- MacDonald’s Aces by Frank Garcia. Published as a separate manuscript in the New Stars of Magic Series, Volume 1, #2 (1973)
- A Dream of Aces by Gary Ouellet. Originally released by the Camirand Academy of Magic as a booklet with companion video and cards. Essentially a handling and presentation for MacDonald's Aces (1993).
- Ankner's Aces by Buddy Ankner, a progressive ace assembly marketed by Perfect Magic in the early 1980s.
- MacJennings Aces by Larry Jennings in Genii 1999 January, gimmicks not used to for vanish, but for appearance resulting in an instant reverse-assembly ending (also independently developed by Guy Hollingworth).
Variations of the plot
- SecaRouf (FourAces in reverse) by Phil Goldstein in which the aces start out together and end up in the other packets.
- Jazz Aces by Peter Kane in which the aces and only four other cards are used.
- Collins' Aces by Stanley Collins, a cross between an Ace Assembly and a Poker Deal.