Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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Coin Rattle Gimmick

The idea of having a small box containing coins, strapped to the wrist, to make a rattling sound, reinforcing the impression that the hand is full of coins just before their disappearance, had its start in the manipulation of small bells. A bell was attached to the inside of the magician's sleeve to aid in the effect of a second, openly-held bell traveling from one hand to another. This appeared in The Anatomie of Legerdemain by Hocus Pocus, Jr., 1634, n.p. This proved to be a popular inclusion in conjuring texts up through the end of the eighteenth century.

T. Nelson Downs later adapted this idea for coin magicians, creating the Coin Rattle Gimmick. Downs published the workings of his prop in Modern Coin Manipulation, 1900, p. 111, under the title “A Modern Adaptation of the 'Rattle Box' Idea”.

Also see: The Rattle Box.


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