Nickel Head (Knickle, Knickel, Nickle) is a trick by Charles Smith, first published in 1954. The performer does the childhood trick of sticking a coin to his forehead. But when he pulls the nickel off and turns it over, there's a nail sticking out of its back. His forehead is apparently unharmed.
The "Floor Nickel" was sold as early as 1928 by Adams. It was a nickel with a nail attached, to be pounded into the ground or floor as a practical joke on anybody trying to pick it up.
In the early fifties, Charles Smith got the idea of combining the Floor Nickel with the childhood "trick" of sticking a coin to your forehead. Smith would remove the nickel from his forehead and offer it to an audience member, saying, "It's easy. Try it..." as he flipped it over to reveal the nail. His Knickle Head appeared in The New Phoenix.
Art Johnson had an article in Hugard's titled "Adhesio," about "a new 'wonder' adhesive chemical," in which he explained a way to make your own nickel. He also mentioned seeing Jay Marshall perform the trick.
Don Alan adapted and used the trick in his "Pretty Sneaky" act, and is largely responsible for popularizing it. Ron Bauer learned Smith's original trick in high school, and when working close-up after college, discussed and exchanged ideas about the trick with Alan. He worked out his The Magic Coin in its final form in the mid-seventies.
- Knickle Head (Charles Smith): The New Phoenix, No. 318 (October 1954, p. 79).
- The Magic Coin (Ron Bauer): The New Tops, Vol. 34 No. 11 (November 1994, pp. 26-28).