This trick of Dai Vernon's appears in The Dai Vernon Book of Magic, 1957, p. 114. However, a closely related ruse is used in R. W. Hull's The Elusive Joker, c. 1931, p. 7 and 12. Hull makes no specific claim of originality for this. However, it might be another instance of the use of unpublished ideas of others that prompted Vernon to say Hull never had an original idea.
An almost identical routine to Vernon's was published by Bert Allerton in Jean Hugard's More Card Manipulations 4, 1941, p. 44, called “Magnetic Thought”. Hugard noted that the trick had been a favorite of Allerton's for a number of years by that point.