Chief among all the magic tricks in the book, card tricks, and coin tricks are the most well-known.
We’re not talking about Grandpa pulling a quarter out from behind your ear; we’re talking about real coin tricks that you can pull off for people around you, and entice their imagination.
This is where you get into the intricacies of prestidigitation and pulling people’s attention away from what you’re doing.
These coin tricks take practice, but once you get them down pat, you’ll be able to perform them so smoothly that nobody will know what to do; they’re going to be stunned.
If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of the coin tricks, we got you covered:
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What Are the Principles of Coin Tricks?
You can only really do coin tricks in an intimate atmosphere.
That could be a party, street magic, or just somewhere that your spectator has a close view and access to what you’re doing.
It might sound crazy, but it’s what makes your acts so believable in the first place.
All coin tricks operate off of sleight of hand, so mastery is key here.
Before you ever show it to someone, you need to be able to perform a coin trick in the mirror well before you actually take to street magic and show the world what you’re made of.
Best Coin Tricks to Learn
Coin Through the Table
This one is a ton of fun, and I would say it only takes about a half-hour to get really good at it.
You’re going to use any table that you can put your hand under, and your spectator has to be sitting across from you at the same table.
Take a quarter in your right hand, and have your left hand positioned behind it. Switch the coin into your left hand.
This is called the French Drop move, which isn’t really a coin trick in and of itself, but you can find out more about the French Drop by clicking or tapping here.
When the coin is in your left hand, draw attention with your right hand. Make everyone believe that the coin is still in your right hand.
While you pull your right hand up about a foot off the table, position your left hand underneath it since there’s no attention on it.
Smash your hand down on the table very dramatically, and during this time, tap the coin on the underside of the table as well. This will create the sound of the metal hitting wood.
Pull your right hand up to show it’s empty, then pull your left hand out since people will believe you were doing it to catch the coin
If you don’t feel confident pulling your hand back out with the coin, you can simply drop the coin when you smash your right hand down on the table.
The Miser’s Dream
It’s a mix of storytelling and actually acting out the trick, so you’re going to have to pay close attention.
Start by positioning a line of about ten quarters in your hand. You want them resting between the pinky and index finger, laying in a soft cozy spot on your middle and ring finger.
Then, using and bucket, you can put your four fingers inside the bucket with your thumb on the outside to hold it. Just be sure your hand is as in the bucket as it can get.
Hold the bucket up so people can see it’s empty.
You can even have them feel inside for a false bottom if you’d like.
You’re going to show your other hand, which has absolutely no coins in it at all, and then you’re going to pretend to toss a coin in the bucket.
At that same time, you let one coin fall out from your cache in the bucket. Show the bucket, show your empty hand, and do it again until you’re out of coins.
Your bucket will have ten coins in it, and your trick hand will be empty, eliminating the evidence. Put the bucket down and let people go through it to believe it for themselves.
Coin Through Palms
Making coins appear through stuff is one of the most fun ways to put these trick types to good use.
This one is pretty simple, and you could even teach your children how to do it if you really wanted.
Get two coins (quarters work best here), and put one of them in your right hand. You want to hold it with all four fingers and your thumb, because it will be used later on in the trick.
The other quarter should be in a thumb pinch, where it’s between the side of your hand and your thumb, but not visible from the top of your hand.
The coin will run down to your palm, and you will hold your hand at an angle to conceal this during the trick.
Using the top coin, you’re going to jab around the top of your hand to find your “soft spot” as you will tell the audience. Once you find it, say “1, 2, 3” as you tap the coin on your hand.
On 3, you’re going to push the coin down so it disappears further between your thumb and four fingers, while simultaneously dropping the coin that you have in the thumb pinch.
The result is a coin hitting the table, and some pretty impressive sleight of hand.
Hanging Coin in the Air
You’re going to want to do this with a half-dollar if you have one, because they’re just the right size to pull this off.
The goal here is to use a palming method and some misdirection to really stun the spectator. It’s going to take a few tries to get it right because there are a few working parts to this trick.
You take your right hand and position a coin in it. Toss it to your left hand, and then squeeze the coin while talking with the spectator about “These coins are perfect because you can make them vanish in this air.”
Toss it back and forth a few times, but when it comes back to your right hand, you’re going to do a palm hold.
This is when you gently pinch the second line in your middle and ring finger against the edge of the half-dollar, so that it pressurizes between the bottom of your fingers and the second line. You want to hold it here.
You’re going to pretend you switch it back into your other hand, where you’re holding a tight fist. Then release your hand, one finger at a time, so show people that it’s invisible now, not gone.
Then you pretend to toss it into your left hand, even though it’s invisible, and hang it in the air.
Later on, you reach back into the air to grab the coin and then pull your left hand back while your right index finger and thumb are in the palm of your left hand.
When you pull your fingers back, it releases the coin from your palm technique right into the space between your index
Coin Behind the Ear
Look, I’m not trying to say that we are all our grandfathers, but… my grandfather did this trick when I was a kid, and it was awesome. Learning all these years later is a lot of fun.
The idea is that you’re going to toss one coin into your right hand, then toss it up in the air while it stays in that hand. You pretend to toss it into your left hand, where you make a fist.
In reality, your right hand is palming the coin, where it’s wedged in between your middle and ring fingers and resting against the top of your palm, and the second lines of your fingers.
In your left hand, you blow into your palm and pretend that you’ve destroyed the coin. It’s dust, you’ve blown it away, it’s gone forever.
You take your right hand and put it next to the spectator’s head, and left the palmed coin slip into your grip and then pull it out.
You show it to them, they think it’s a hoot, and if you’re good enough at it, you can freak out your nephew next time you go to visit.
Production and Destruction
This trick is all sleight of hand and fast movements, so you’ve got to get those down pat before you attempt to show this off in front of people.
Start with one coin, and position it between your two index fingers. You’re going to be moving your hands a lot to provide ample misdirection.
Wave your hands in front of each other so that they eclipse.
During this time, you’re going to transition that coin from one hand to the other, delicately grabbing it with the spot between your thumb and the rest of your palm.
It’s going to sit there for a second, and then you’re going to transition it to being between the index and middle fingers, on the top part, of your other hand.
This will allow you to open up both palms to show there’s nothing there.
Put your hands together again, and use the thumb on your left hand to pull the coin in between your two fingers, effectively returning it to your hands like it just produced out of thin air.
Simple Coin Roll
No, you aren’t using a roll of coins, but you are going to roll a coin across your knuckles.
You can use whatever coin you feel comfortable with—it really doesn’t matter.
You’re going to start by balancing whatever your preferred coin is on your thumb while your hand is upside-down.
It should look like your thumb is coming straight up, and your elbow will be twisted a bit to get this effect.
Raise your thumb up to your index finger, and slightly turn your hand. The goal here is to turn your hand with the motion to let gravity help you out a bit.
Push the coin up onto the top of your index knuckle, while slowly turning your hand further.
Then, once the coin is on your index knuckle, you can raise your middle finger up, then when you bring it back down you can make sure it snags the edge of the coin, which will then flip it up onto your middle finger knuckle.
Repeat this with the ring finger and pinky.
There are some magicians that can keep doing this like a conveyor belt, just constantly churning out six coins at a time. That’s cool and all, but starting here will help you get your bearings.
This is fun and can be performed with a couple of half-dollars. You place one down on a table, and the other one right next to it.
The goal here is to make it look like you’re picking up one coin in each hand, which isn’t actually what you’re doing.
Put your left palm down over the coin, then remove it. Make it visible that the coin is still on the table.
Using your other hand, pick up the other coin (it’s not going to be easy but style points don’t matter yet). Then false transfer that coin into your left hand.
Using your right hand, reach over and grab the other coin off the table.
It looks like your left hand should have one coin, but what you did was put the first coin on your middle and ring finger in a palm hold.
Turn both hands over and present them. Open the empty hand first, then the other, and show off the two coins.
Tips for Learning Coin Tricks
Are you already trying to do some coin tricks, but coming up short?
You’re not the only one. Coin tricks are difficult to master, especially if you’re a novice magician. But don’t worry; there are a few little tips that can make the difference.
This one seems arbitrary, but I mean really focus. Turn off the television, keep your phone notifications on silent or vibration, and kill all the noise.
At most, you can have a fan or AC in the background for some white noise, but eliminate all distractions. Even if you think that you have an ironclad will, these can still get in the way.
Before you get frustrated for the day and stop with your coin tricks, assess the situation.
Were you dropping the coin(s) while attempting a trick or two? Where are you getting your finger placement wrong?
Start with some simple hand warm-ups before you get started for the day. Make a fist, stretch your fingers out, make a claw; there are over a dozen hand warm-up methods out there.
Seriously, you should be sleeping a full seven to eight hours of sleep a night before you perform any of these tricks.
Missing one hour of sleep a day can impair your cognitive function immensely, making you extremely frustrated, and ruining your focus.
That last thing you need while attempting difficult coin tricks is having impaired sleep ruining the experience for you.
Coin Tricks Don’t Stop Here
As a matter of fact, there are dozens of different variations of the eight tricks we mentioned here today.
Beyond that, there are other objects that you can learn to pass coins through, other ways to hold onto them apart from false passes, and more.
Coin tricks and card tricks are the staples of any magician’s routine because, once you know how to do them in some small capacity, you can apply that fundamental to other tricks moving forward.
That’s really what basic card and coin tricks do for you: they prepare you for other tricks simply by showing you what’s possible. You know, and they’re fun to pull out when the dinner party gets boring.
Experiment with other objects besides coins. Make them disappear, make them reappear, and apply yourself to creating an entirely new magic routine.
While these tricks are fun, it’s up to you to innovate the world of magic, should you choose to do so.
Once you know the basics, you can innovate and invent new methods of trickery, and have some trade secrets of your own.
Coin Tricks are a Timeless Classic
Coin tricks require adept sleight of hand, but with some due diligence and some talent, you’ll be able to develop this staple magic skill.
Coin tricks are excellent for performing street magic and earning a name for yourself.
They’re fast tricks that don’t require any setup, so people won’t be distracted with your street kit—all eyes will be on your hands.
Now that you have a few tricks quite literally up your sleeve, it’s time to put them to good use. Get out there, and let the public be your critic.