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$20 Manuscript

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$20 Manuscript was a magic pamphlet published by Faucett Ross and Dai Vernon in 1932 that was originally called "Ten Card Problems".

$20 Manuscript
AuthorFaucett Ross
Publication Date1932


  • Vernon Five Card Mental Force
  • Vernon Miracle Card Location
  • Vernon Miracle Card Location - Club Version
  • Vernon Super Card Prediction
  • Vernon Poker Demonstration
  • Vernon Super Count Down
  • Vernon Automatic Second Deal
  • Slow Motion Card Vanish
  • The Vernon Card Puzzle (with the Strip-out Addition)
  • The Vernon Four Aces (with the Vernon Transfer)
  • The Vernon Card Divination


In the summer of 1932, after Dai Vernon's second son, David Derek Verner was born, expenses were heavy and Dai sought some means to make some "quick money". Faucett W. Ross suggested they do a manuscript of card secrets. Dai liked the idea and in October, 1932, the Vernon family moved near Ross in Wichita, Kansas.

Ross, having recently given a job at a Wichita newspaper, was working as a professional magician and was able to devote time to producing the manuscript.

After careful consideration, they decided to try to sell only a few at twenty dollars, rather than a lot of them at a much small price.

After deciding on the effects to include, they wrote up a prospectus which described the effects in detail called "A Prospectus of the Dai W. Vernon Super Card Subtleties". They mailed it to a carefully compiled list of some seventy five interested magicians. Almost half of this select list sent in pre-payments.

It should be realized that twenty dollars in 1932 (depression days) was quite a bit of money.

It was originally planned that only a dozen would be sold, but after the work was done, the response was so favorable that they changed to the idea that only the first dozen was to be autographed, and no more was said about selling only twelve. The manuscript was written and published within a period of two weeks.

Dai hand illustrated all of the copies in pen and ink, and had autographed and hand colored the first 12 copies. Each copy was unique because he did not illustrate them all at the same time.

The exact number of copies of the $20 Manuscript issued is difficult to determine.

In the "Vernon Chronicles, He Fooled Houdini", Dai Vernon states. "we advertised that we would sell a dozen autographed copies. Within a week we had taken in over $700! (at $20 a copy that implies that 35 copies were sold).

In Dai Vernon: A Biography, David Ben says ,"On November 21st, the duo sent the prospectus, along with a cover letter signed personally by Vernon, to fifty potential purchasers....The response was terrific: Vernon received $400 in the first week. Forty percent of their list -- twenty people -- responded to the initial offer".

A hastily prepared a second manuscript was also created called "Five Close-up Problems by Dai Vernon" was also advertised in the Sphinx


  • "Famous $25 Dee-Vee Manuscript" - One of the knock-offs of the manuscript during the 1940s and 1950s. Published in a limited number and distributed at no charge to the copier's friends.
  • Early Vernon (1962) by Faucett W. Ross - a combination of the $20 Manuscript and Five Close-Up Problems (1933), along with some historical information regarding how they came to be, and nine “new” Vernon variations. Included in this work is the entire story of the Vernon Twenty Dollar Manuscript as well as the entire reprint of the manuscript itself plus ten Vernon variations.
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