The Origins of Wonder
In this trick, four coins are made invisible as they are tossed, one by one, into a small clear glass that is covered by a large inverted tumbler. A gimmicked stand shoots four coins, one by one, up inside the large glass, where they then fall into the small glass.
In 1937, this trick was developed and manufactured in a small number by Jack Hughes in the U.K. as “Visible Coins in Glass”. (This history is given in The Jack Hughes World of Magic, Vol. 1, 1981, p. 46). The trick was manufactured ten years later in the U.S. by Bob Kline, marketed under the name of “Copenetro”; see the ad in the April 1947 issue of The Linking Ring, Vol. 27 No. 2, p. 17. Kline did not credit Hughes, prompting Hughes to issue the trick more widely that year. His ad for “Visible Coins in Glass” in the June 1947 issue of The Gen (Vol. 2 No. 7, p. 120) makes his position clear.
Interestingly, a precursor to this effect and method was published anonymously as “The Coin of Mercury” in the May 1900 issue of Mahatma, Vol. 3 No. 11, p. 364. A marked coin is vanished and slipped into a spring-loaded gimmick attached to the spine of a large book. The book is displayed and set on a table. After being proven ordinary, a large and a small glass are set on the book, the large one inverted over the small one. The large glass is then covered by a paper cone—a precaution that seems unnecessary. A pull on a thread releases the spring gimmick and propels the marked coin into the inner glass.