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Reinhard Müller discovered a precursor to his three-card catch in an earlier handling that appeared in a scarce 1853 German book, Ein Spiel Karten: Lehrbuch der höheren Kartenkunst, by R. P., published in Prague, 1853. See Part II, item 3, “The Magnetic Cards” in the Pieper translation. This handling was an extension of that used in “The Ladies' Looking Glass”, in which the fingertips were moistened and the deck thrown into the air, leaving three cards clinging to the fingers. Also predating (by five years) Müller's publication of the sleight was Mike Roger's “Coin Clipped” from M-U-M, Feb. 1966, p. 18, in which two coins, sandwiching a deck, trap a chosen card as the deck is tossed. See Fulves's The Fine Print, No. 10, p. 341 for further details.
A four-card catch variant was published by Harry Lorayne in his Quantum Leaps, 1979, p. 197. Lorayne adds another feature by creating a double card, so that a fifth card (a selection) can be produced, following the four-card catch. Müller had come up with this idea as well, using the red Aces to catch a black one, but the lower red Ace was a sidejogged double (the second black Ace hidden beneath), allowing the delayed production of the second black Ace. This trick of Müller's hasn't been published, but another application of his, to a color-changing deck, “Off Color Catchers, appeared in Spell Binder, Vol. 2, No. 15, July 1982, p. 286.