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Coins Through Table

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A popular and much varied plot in coin magic wherein a quantity of coins (usually four) is placed on a table, then penetrates to the underside, falling into the magician's hand or a receptacle such as a glass. More often than not the coins are "magically" pushed through the table one after the other, and typically under increasingly challenging conditions. Magicians commonly associated with the plot include Slydini, Al Baker, Albert Goshman and Dai Vernon, each of whom established prototypical approaches.

One of the first descriptions of this plot was in Nouvelle Magie Blanche Devoilee written by Jean-Nicolas Ponsin in 1853, page 210, Faire passer une pièce de cinq francs à travers la table (loosely translated: Making a five-franc coin pass through the table)

More recently, the plot has expanded to include penetrations through glass tabletops, prompting new methodologies and enhanced visuals.

Routines Published as Separate Manuscripts

  • (1946) Kangaroo Coins by Dai Vernon. Published in the original Stars of Magic series (Series 2, #4 - 1946), then later reprinted in the bound volume (Tannen's, 1975). Vernon's original method of passing four coins, one after the other, through a table into a glass.
  • (1968) Albert Goshman Presents Coins Thru The Table. Third in a series of one-trick manuscripts released by Albert Goshman in the late-1960s.
  • (1980) The Silver Passage by Gary Ouellet. Published as part of the Masters of Magic series (Volume 1, #3). Four coins are introduced, then a small, round mirror (of the kind one might find in a make-up compact) is placed on the table, whereupon each of the four coins penetrates the mirror and table, arriving in the magician's waiting hand on the underside. The last coin penetrates by means of the Hirata Master Move (created by Japanese magician, Haruhito Hirata), whereby the coin, held in full view at the magician's fingertips, disappears in the blink of an eye as it's brought down to the mirror.
  • (2008) Those Damn American Coins, by Matt Coleman. 7 pages, spiral bound. From the adcopy: Three coins are poured out from a coin purse onto the table. Counting the three coins, the magician realizes one has vanished. He opens the purse to find the first coin. The magician tries to repeat it, this time through solid wood. Two coins are rubbed on top of the table, the hand is removed, and one coin is gone. It has melted through the table. The magician tries it one more time. The last coin is signed, then rubbed through the table. "A miracle," they all shout. It's all over. Just then the magician seems to lose his balance as the coin purse he's resting on vanishes from under his hand - it has melted through the table too.

Sit-Down Coins-Through-Table Routines in Print

  • (1961) Coins Through Table, by Jimmy Ray. First published in Between the Acts, then later reprinted in A Ray of Magic (Ray, 1980). Routine in which three of four coins penetrate the table and fall into a glass on the underside. The glass is then brought out from beneath the table and a handkerchief is draped over it. The fourth and final coin is placed on the handkerchief, whereupon the magician pushes down on the coin with his thumb, causing it to penetrate the handkerchief and drop "tinkling into the glass." (Ray credited this finale to Boston magician Paul Copp)
  • (1975) Three Halves Through, by Al Schneider. Published in Al Schneider on Coins. Three coins pass through the table, one after the other. Theatrical emphasis is placed on the coins above the table before (and at the moment) each one penetrates. No gimmicks or extra coins employed.
  • (2008) Double Down, by Shiv Duggal. Published in Genii 2008 May. Two coins penerate the table one after the other. The handling employs Duggal's Yin Tong move, a precursor to Jay Sankey's HPC-CPH.

Stand-Up Coins-Through-Table Routines in Print

Individual Techniques/Phases in Print

  • (1990) The Gossamer Dissolve, by Gary Ouellet. Published in Close-Up Illusions (Ouellet, 1990). A method for causing all four coins to vanish simultaneously into the table top, thereby concluding any coins-through-table routine. Ouellet used this technique to end The Silver Passage, though it was not included in the manuscript.
  • (1990) The Final Coin Flight, by Gary Ouellet. Published in Close-Up Illusions (Ouellet, 1990). A "breathtakingly clean penetration of the final coin in any coins through table routine." Offered in the book as a non-sleight-of-hand alternate to the Hirata Master Move.