Susan B’s Diminishing Dollar
Copyright © 1980 by Ron Bauer
EFFECT: The magician tries to con the
audience into believing that the Susan
B. Anthony dollars are minted in the
standard silver dollar size, but get
smaller and smaller by being handled.
Then he "proves it."
Click to Enlarge
The purpose for
coming up with this little trick with
the Susan B. Anthony dollar was to
find some use for it. The stores don't
like to use them because of their size.
I don't like them because I don't have
enough of them and am bitter.
You need a small Susan B. Anthony
dollar. I know they're all small.
This one is even smaller. It's one
of those tiny replicas about a quarter
of an inch in diameter. You hide this
tiny replica between the right thumb
and middle fingertips. (Illustration
1). This should give your hand a
natural and empty appearance. Bring out
a real Susan B. Anthony dollar with the
left hand. Place it between the thumb
and index finger of the right hand as
shown in Illustration 2. Of course, you
do not let anyone see the hidden miniature.
All this time you're chatting wide-eyed
about... "the fact that Susan B.
Anthony dollars don't start out this
small, but begin diminishing in size
shortly after being distributed. It
seems the government is using some
strange alloys which are definitely
not silver. Handling the coins causes
them to get smaller and smaller..."
No one will believe this – perhaps –
but, blithely continue trying to con
them into the idea that you have some
sort of factual evidence and proof.
A secret move is done here. Grip the
edge of the dollar with the left thumb and fingers. (Illustration 2 again).
Slightly lower the right hand and
position it so that the thumb is directly
beneath the Susan B. Anthony coin.
Now lower the dollar with the left
fingers. Simultaneously, move the
right thumb from underneath, then on
top of the dollar. The left hand lets
go. The tiny coin is now hidden underneath
the big coin. And, hopefully,
no one knows but you.
You are now going to apparently show
the Susan B. Anthony coin visibly
growing smaller. You do this by placing
the dollar in the center of the palm-up
left hand, secretly loading the tiny
replica underneath. The palm-up left
hand is not flat. It is shallowly
cupped. The tiny coin is secretly
loaded underneath the dollar by sort
of scraping it off the middle finger as
the right thumb presses the dollar
onto the left palm. (Illustration 3).
Now the "visible diminishing illusion."
I use the word illusion advisedly
because this is pure scam. However,
some people have given me the impression
that they were buying it. They may
have been putting me on, but I'll
believe anyone who tells me I'm doing
well. Anyway, all are directed to stare
at the Susan B. Anthony coin as you
gradually flatten out your left hand,
"...see, it's getting smaller and
smaller! Or is my hand getting bigger
and bigger?!..." (Illustration 4)
Click to Enlarge
When you cannot flatten your hand any more
without it turning inside out,
stop and admit that they might need more
dramatic proof. "I'll speed the process
up by increasing the body heat." As
you say this, close your left hand and
turn it palm down. Once again some
secret activity takes place. Do not
close the left fingers tightly, but
loosely. This allows the two coins to
come to rest on the left fingertips of
the now palm-down left hand. Knead
the fingers to "build up extra body
heat." Secretly work the real dollar
outside the fingertips toward the heel
of the hand. Unknown to the spectators,
the tiny coin is inside the left fist
and the dollar is pressed against the
heel of the hand outside the fist.
They can't see it because your hand is
Stop kneading and announce the proof
to be ready! You are now going to steal
the dollar with your right hand under
the guise of showing that there's no
swindling going on. You do this by
pointing to the back of the palm-down
left hand with the right forefinger.
Your right fingers are curved loosely
inward toward the palm, the right thumb
lightly touching the right second digit
of the middle finger. Point the index
at the little finger knuckle of the left
hand. "Watch that I do not sneak
anything into my hand." While saying
this, rotate the left hand palm upwards,
"...nor do any of my fingers move." As
you say this, the right and the left
hands are still moving and are palms
toward each other when the steal is
made. (Illustration 5). Tighten the
right thumb and the middle finger and
grip the dollar as it goes by. Then –
this is very important or the stolen
coin will flash – the right hand bends
slightly downward at the wrist so that
its index finger scrapes lightly
across the fingertips of the left hand.
The bending of the wrist is to hide
any flash during the steal. (Too much
bend of the wrist will give a slight
feminine quality to this move which is
OK in this instance, I suppose, because
it is a Susan B. Anthony dollar).
NOTE: Do not try to palm or hide the
dollar in the right hand at this point.
Just relax until it's time.
The big finish comes when you slowly
open your hand and show the audience
that you were telling the truth all the
time. In the center of your palm is
the tiny Susan B. Anthony dollar...
"still diminishing." Let them look at
it all they want since, after all, it
isn't worth much, anyway. In fact, it
wasn't worth much before either. Oh,
yes, you probably deduced that during
the wildly enthusiastic response to
the tiny coin, you accomplish the
stashing of the real Susan B. Anthony
dollar, either by palming, pocketing,
or lapping. You did deduce dat, didn't
AFTERTHOUGHTS: No afterthoughts...
none of this came as any surprise to
me as I wrote it. And...there you are.
Copyright © 1980 by Ron Bauer