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Han Ping Chien

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Han Ping Chien

Han Ping Chien (1891-1930) was a Chinese magician, who's popularity was peaked during the later part of America's Vaudeville era (circa 1909) with his Peking Mysteries Troupe.


It is believed that Han Ping Chien first began to perform magic as a child while in his native China. His act consisted of "The Rice Box", "Multiple Silk Productions", "Appearing Chinese Parasols" and the popular "Production of Water Bowls". Han caused not just one bowl of water to appear, but several tall stacks of bowls.

Following the early successes of Ching Ling Foo, Chung Ling Soo, and and others who toured the world with an Oriental theme to their magic, Han Ping Chien left Asia and set out for Europe and America. With a traveling troupe many believed were made up of only family members, he presented his lavishly decorated Oriental act, always dressed in his native Chinese attire.

Han Ping Chien Coin Move

A coin move where coins are apparently dropped from on one hand but actually dropped from another.

Han Ping Chien is credited with being the originator of this move used within a popular coin trick, which bears his name.

The Han Ping Chien coin move was first published by Ladson Butler in a manuscript titled The Han Ping Chien Coin Trick (1917). Done with eight coins and a borrowed finger ring, "The Han Ping Chien Coin Trick" fooled close-up audiences for decades. Seated at a table with four Chinese coins in his left hand and four Chinese coins and the borrowed ring in his right hand, Han Ping Chien would begin his trick. Placing his right hand beneath the table, he would claim that the ring had magical magnetic properties. He would then cause all four coins in his left hand to magically pass through the table, and join the others and the ring. After showing his left hand empty, his right hand was brought above the table and opened. It now contained all eight coins and the borrowed ring. The ring supposedly attracted them all together, as if by magic.

A six coined version of "The Han Ping Chien Coin Trick" is taught in the book Magic Digest written by George B. Anderson (1972, Digest Books Inc.)

Although most sources describe the sleight with both hands palm down, Han performed it with the "dropping" hand palm up[citation needed]. Ron Bauer has suggested that Han Ping Chien, as a result of his difficulties with English, used exaggerated mannerisms and timing to misdirect the audience during the move, and that Tony Slydini later used the same techniques when performing the trick.[1] In The Dai Vernon Book of Magic, (1957) Ganson described the move as part of an effect titled "A Chinese Classic." Vernon had altered the move from what Han originally developed by rotating the hand so the palm was perpendicular to the table and moved the hand to the table's surface.

The move itself was published in David P. Abbott's Book of Mysteries (1977), but can also be found in most other coin books like J. B. Bobo's Modern Coin Magic(1952). An new modern version was published in Jay Sankey's Book Sankey Panky by Richard Kaufman (1986).

See also the Gallo Pitch for a closely-related technique employing the same core concept and Card Ping Chien a version of the move created by Shigeo Takagi using cards which can be found in New Magic of Japan by Richard Kaufman (1988).


  1. Ron Bauer. Butch, Ringo, & the Sheep. Ron Bauer Private Studies Series, No. 4, E-GADS, 2002, p. 24.
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