In the mid-nineteenth century, Johann Hofzinser performed a strikingly similar plot to The MacDonald Ace Assembly as one phase of a larger routine called “A Power of Faith,” published in Ottokar Fischer's Kartenkünste, 1910, p. 69 of the Sharpe translation. It used double-faced cards, much like the modern variants. The first trick of its kind to be published was Kaufmann's “Prepared Four Ace Trick” in Mahatma, Vol. 7 No. 11, May 1904, p. 125, six years before Hofzinser's material was released.
The plot's name comes from Mac MacDonald's “McDonald's $100 Routine” in Lewis Ganson's Dai Vernon's More Inner Secrets of Card Magic, 1960, p. 26.
The first version of this trick in which each Ace was vanished from its packet in a different manner was by Ken Krenzel in M-U-M, Vol. 51 No. 3, Aug. 1962, p. 108, under the title “Those Extra Touches”.
Larry Jennings was the first to add a “backfire” coda, in “MacJennings Aces” from Genii, Vol. 62 No. 1, Jan. 1999, p. 39.