The Origins of Wonder
The of the earliest known examples of building multiple outs for a prediction into the props openly used in the effect is Tom Sellers's “A Novel Match Box and Die Trick” in Tricks that Work, 1927, p. 16. In this, a spectator rolls a die to produce a random number, one to six. All six outcomes are covered by a single prepared matchbox. This begat variations by G. W. Hunter (“The Dividing Match Box” in The Sphinx, Vol. 26 No. 2, Apr. 1927, p. 66) and Bruce Elliott (“The Die Is Cast” in The Phoenix, No. 292; Oct. 23, 1953; p. 1166).
Another excellent trick that builds outs into a match box is Phil Wye's “Miniature 'Think-a-Card'” in The Wizard, Vol. 2 No. 23, Feb. 1949, p. 372.
Perhaps the most popular trick having multiple outs built into the props uses three cards, each bearing a different colored spot. The original version of the trick is Len Belcher's “Sales Talk” in Abracadabra, Vol. 28 No. 724, Dec. 12, 1959, p. 350. In 1964, it was marketed by Guaranteed Magic, with some alterations to the form of the outs, as “Mental Choice” (a name that has stuck); see Genii, Vol. 28 No. 8, Apr. 1964, p. 293.