The Sand Frame a classic parlor pieces. It was invented by magician Eugene Bosco sometime in the mid-1800s. It is referenced in More Magic by Professor Hoffmann, which was printed in 1889. Although it appears he credits his father, Bartolomeo Bosco.
It is a little device for making small, flat things — cards, notes, photos, what have you — disappear and re-appear. As you can guess, sand is part of the principle that creates the illusion.