In the quiet sanctum of one’s home, or in a circle of intimate friends, a person performing an effect in magic may be perfectly at ease, but under fire before a critical audience it may be a different story. More times than I care to remember I have seen this happen; this is especially true of the spare-time Magician and, believe me, it is my sincere desire to help overcome this failing.
But, I also believe a person can be taught to perform Magician’s tricks in a manner that is quite pleasing. It is with this thought in mind that I have consented to put into print my version of the routines that are in this book; some are old, and some are of my origination, to the old tricks, we hope we have added something that will give you added pleasure for the rest of your lives.
On the cover it says that this is volume one. To the best of our knowledge there has never been a volume two.
This latest pamphlet on coin magic consists of 18 coin tricks, two coin "flourishes," and one item that comes pretty close to juggling. There are 30 pages of text, illustrated with 131 line drawings. These illustrations are unusually small, but in general do a very good job of supplementing the written word. The booklet is neatly printed on satisfactory paper, and is stapled in a soft-board cover. The left-hand pages are set up in double columns, the right-hand in lines which extend clear across the page. We cannot see that this arrangement represents an advance, over the orthodox style of composition; indeed, it has the disadvantage of separating the explanation of each trick from the description of its effect.
Many of these effects - and this is true of coin tricks in general - are more suitable for close work than for presentation on stages or platforms; and several fall distinctly into the after dinner class. Among the most interesting items explained by Mr. Osborne are Coin Production (two playing cards are freely shown, placed together, and made to yield up several coins, one at a time); Catch It (a coin in a glass tumbler is caused to penetrate the center of a napkin that has been stretched over the mouth of the tumbler); A Double Pass (two coins pass, secretly and separately, into an empty glass); Change It (a dollar bill is smoothly changed into four quarters); Watch It (the passage of a coin through the cloth of the trousers into the pocket); and several others, including some good "transfers" of coins from hand to hand. The two "flourishes" are The Coin Star and The Coin Roll.
Several of the best things explained in Coin Tricks are far from new. By way of illustration, we may cite Coin Fold, a sleight which makes use of a napkin or handkerchief and was published in Robert-Houdin's Secrets of Conjuring and Magic in 1868; Red and Blue, a version of the ancient and honorable Filtration of Five-Franc Pieces, which also appeared in this Robert-Houdin classic; and Coins of Sympathy (in which four coins lying some distance apart are brought together magically under a playing card), a trick that has been explained in Downs' Art of Magic (under the title, The Sympathetic Coins) and other books, and in greater detail than in the present work. However, in each of these instances, Mr. Osborne has made some contribution to the earlier descriptions of the tricks. The only feat in his booklet that appears to us to be difficult to grasp is The Tube, which, so far as we are concerned, the text and illustrations do not make wholly understandable.
Good books on coin tricks are none too plentiful. There must be hundreds or thousands of amateur magicians (for whom this branch of conjuring is especially appropriate) who could use to advantage at least some of the workable ideas that are given in this interesting and informative booklet.