Trick School: The “Vanishing Coin”

The great thing about magic tricks is that you can fool people with just the simplest little bit of diversion. Of course, not all tricks are like this. Some require a little bit more brainpower, and just a touch of preparation before you unleash it upon an audience.

The “Vanishing Coin” is a trick that helps introduce would-be magicians to the act of preparation. Some circles call it creating a “gimmick.” Whatever you want to call it, this little bit of setup time is a valuable tool and you should learn to relish it.

What You Need

Now, what are the components of the “Vanishing Coin”? As the name implies, your first item will be a coin. The size doesn’t particularly matter, so feel free to use whatever you have rattling around in your pockets or sitting in your change jar.

You need a glass. Again, the size doesn’t particularly matter so long as it’s clear. Make sure the rim isn’t too thin, though. This might disqualify the use of something like a wine glass, but it’s a process of trial and error. Regardless, you’ll soon find out why you don’t want a rim too thin.

You’ll need a sheet of white paper, scissors, and a regular glue stick. Something that works well with sticking paper, specifically. We’re getting arts and crafty here.

Finally, you’ll need a silk cloth or a handkerchief, or something along those lines. It serves a functional purpose in the trick but adds a nice bit of magician’s flair too.


The Trick

The trick itself is incredibly simple and is over in just a few moves of the hands. Crucially, it must be performed on a white tablecloth. As this trick requires some setup, you’ll hopefully be able to control the environment to have a white tablecloth to perform on. You’ll find out why shortly.

On the table, you have your glass upside down, and nearby your coin. You take your cloth and drape it over the glass. Then, you just place the glass over where the coin was and remove the cloth. The coin has vanished, and then the whole room applauds you. Well, hopefully.

As a final flourish, you drape the cloth back on the glass, move it away, and hey-presto, the coin has returned. You could alternatively have the coin reappear a different way, by using an identical coin to segway into another trick, such as the old “coin behind the ear” or the like.

How It Works

This is an incredibly simple trick. All you need to do is cut out a circle from the white paper that is the circumference of the glass’ rim, and then use the glue to stick them together. This is why I said to pay attention to the rim of the glass, because if it’s too thin, then it’s going to be difficult to make this work.

The white paper acts as an optical illusion. The audience just thinks they’re seeing through the glass to the bottom of the white tablecloth. They don’t know about the prep you’ve done. The rest of the trick as it is described in the above section. The white paper hides the coin. It’s just as simple as that. With just a little bit of preparation, you now have an efficient and smart trick.


As mentioned earlier, this trick does not work on just any surface. A flat and solid white tablecloth is the easiest way to perform it. A portable iteration of the trick can be used on a piece of white paper if you don’t have a tablecloth to hand. You can try your hand at variations so the trick can be tried on other surfaces, but there’s no guarantee it’ll work as well, or as easily, as just plain old white paper.

Make sure the glue is given time to set correctly. If I had a Dollar for every magician who didn’t let their glue set properly and botched the trick as a result, I’d be rich. Similarly, please pay attention to your paper circle and the glass rim. I can’t stress this enough. If it doesn’t look convincing, the audience will not buy it. Period. If you don’t believe it’s real, neither will your audience. That should be incentive enough to get it right.