English Coins for Magnetic Magic.

Pulls, Ravens etc.

The basic 'pull' is a simple piece of equipment that can disappear most small objects, without years and years of practice. In it's simplest form it is a foot long length of thin elastic with a safety pin on one end.  This is pinned to the inside of the sleeve such that when the elastic is released it completely disappears up the sleeve along with whatever was secured to the other end of the elastic. For example we can disappear a coin by drilling a small hole near the rim and simply tying the free elastic on to it. When the coin is held in the magicians hand, the elastic is stretched. To disappear the coin he simply lets go of it. Simple yet very effective. If one ties a neodymium magnet onto the free end of the elastic then any magnetic object such as a coin or pen can also be disappeared in the same way, without worrying about securing it to the elastic of the pull. The magnetic 'pull' is also used with magnetic coins and shell coins for a wide variety of illusions such as penetration of solids, transmutation of objects. For example it is possible to turn a coin into a living creature, without touching the person holding the coin. 

It does require a certain amount of skill or practice to conceal the pull magnet in the hand. One aid is to put a blunt hook on the magnet and hook it onto the back of a normal finger ring. It can stay in position on the hand during a 'steal' but easily flipped off the ring when it needs to be disappeared

Large Pull's.

I had better start this off with a warning that neodymium magnets can be dangerous, certainly the larger ones. The will snap together with considerable force and if your fingers happen to be in the way, then you will know all about it !.  Also they should not be used by anyone who has a pacemaker as the very powerful magnetic fields  can stop it working !. They can also stop watches working if brought too close to the magnet.  That in itself is a magic trick !. 

Using larger and more powerful magnets do make some tricks easier to do. For example a powerful magnet can attract a coin from a much greater distance than a weak one. Not that any neodymium magnet could be called 'weak'!.  This also allows magnetic field to penetrate through human flesh and enables tricks like the 'coin through the hand' etc..  Neodymium magnets are easily available up to five inches in diameter but for most magic work a two inch square or round magnet, one inch thick is probably the largest useable size. Even this size must be used with extreme care to avoid injuries. A magnet of this size is too large and heavy to use with a pull, so they are normally used attached to the wrist ... which leaves the hands 'clean' at all times.

Any neodymium magnet will attract a magnetic object with some considerable force resulting in it striking the magnet. To prevent it causing damage to the magnet and  to eliminate the sound of it hitting the magnet, the magnet needs to be padded.


Reel Pulls.

If you are wearing a t-shirt you cannot use the sleeves to disappear objects !. If they are to end up on the Magicians person they obviously have to go somewhere else. One answer to this problem is the 'reel' pull. In it's simplest form it is simply a standard spring loaded, extendible key chain reel. Some clip to the belt and others have a safety pin or spring clip to attach it to the clothes. Sometimes the thin black cord is replaced by a fine fishing line to make it more 'invisible'. During an act a magician may use several pulls. 


English Coins

Coin Diameter Thickness at rim Magnetic ?
1p 20.20mm 1.61mm Pre 1992 Yes
2p 25.86mm 1.70mm Pre 1992 yes
5p 17.92mm 1.70mm No
10p 24.48mm 1.86mm No
50p     No
1 22.42mm 3.16mm No




Magnetic ?

Pre 1992 1p and 2p coins are made of copper. Some 1992 coins are made of copper and others copper plated steel. Post 1992  1 and 2p coins are made of copper plated steel and are therefore magnetic. To make a non-magnetic coin capable of being attracted to a magnet we need either to hide a magnetic shim or a real neodymium magnet inside  it. If we require the coin to have a single 'fair' face then we can simply turn or mill a depression in one face of the coin to take the shim or magnet. The important point to notice at this point is if we use a magnet, then the coin becomes polarised with a north and south face. If we wish the coin to be attracted to the pull magnet then the presented face of the coin must be of opposite polarity to the presented face of the Raven magnet. In some cases we may wish for the coin to be repelled by the 'pull'  magnet and in that case both presented faces must be of the same polarity. The thinnest neodymium disc magnets commonly available are 1/32" thick (0.79mm thick), and are ideal for this purpose.

  D1/2" x 1/32" Disc - Grade N42

The disc magnet shown above is the 1/2" diameter, 1/32" thick magnet from the Power Magnet Store range


If two fair faces are required then one needs to face down two coins, turn a depression in one or both, insert the shim or magnet and then secure the two halves together again.  Double headed or tailed coins are made the same way. 


Shell coins.

Shell coins also have  depression milled or turned into one face.  In use smaller coins are hidden in the hollow the shell coin. It should be obvious that a coin of the same size cannot fit within itself. In some tricks we need to create the illusion that this is happening, so we use and 'extended' shell coin. This is a stretched or replica of the standard shell coin, that is slightly larger than the real coin, so that the real coin can fit inside it. 

Bent coins.

This is an illusion where it looks as if the magician has used only his fingers to bend a coin almost double. The 'gaffed' coin is simply a normal coin that has been pre-bent, in the workshop. The trick is to do this without any other obvious damage to the coin ... ie vice jaw marks. The easy way is to first crease the coin and then complete the fold in a vice with plastic jaw protectors. It is normal, after the presentation of the trick, for the magician to give the folded coin to someone in the audience as a keepsake, so a 2p coin is commonly used. In some cases a member of the audience is allowed to mark the exposed center of the coin with a felt tip pen, while the coin is held by the magician.  It is therefore better to make sure that this small exposed area looks flat. The easy way to do this is to make two creases and hence two fold lines, leaving the center area apparently flat. 


Bending coins.

Anything larger than the neck of a bottle will obviously not go into the bottle !.  Unless we can make it smaller first !. This caused the introduction of folding coins. Coins which can have one or more 'hinged' folds. One way to do this is divide the coin into 3 strips with a 5 thou slitting saw, mill holes in the mating surfaces and then insert rubber 'hinges'. Another solution is to make fake coins from a 'bendable' material. Freezing a bent coin will cause it to temporarily shrink enough to enter the bottle. This can be done in the workshop. You can 'prove' there is no coin in the bottle by turning it upside down and  shaking it by someone's ear. You do this with a magnet hidden in the hand that holds the bottle. After you have said the magic words to make 'a' coin penetrate the bottle, change the bottle to the other hand and 'lose' the magnet. The bottle can now be shaken and the coin heard to rattle .....  as well as being seen in the bottle.


Levitation has always been a part of the magic scene as a trick. Levitation can also be a reality as well .... with the use of neodymium magnets. The first is the "Levitron" device invented by Roy Harrigan. He obtained US patent No. 4,382,245 for the invention in May 1983. A freind of mine bought one several years ago but kept quiet about it because he couldn't get it to work. Well it is working now as the photographs show ....

We had it levitating for about a minute at a time. The record for spin time is over 580 days !.