Reference Guide

to the
Cap and Pence, or

Stack of Quarters 

Cap and Pence
Image courtesy TheAmbitiousCard
by Doug A. (  

Last Update: September 2015 Added George Anderson Magic Digest; Al Baker's Pet Secrets; Al Baker's Magical Ways and Means; J.B. Bobo Watch This One!; David Devant The Best Tricks; Douglas Craggs Masterpieces of Magic; Dhotel, Jules: La Prestidigitation Sans Bagage, Tome V (French); Bob Sheets Accumulations;
Doug Brewer Red Light DVD; European Coin Magic Symposium Volume 1, 3 and 4; Mike Gallo Siamese Coins DVD, Magic of Mike Gallo Vol 2 DVD; Alex Lourido Rainbow Coins & DVD; Justin Miller Strolling Hands Vol 1 DVD; Roth, Rubinstein, Gallo: New York Coin Magic Seminar Volume Five, Six, Seven, Thirteen and Sixteeen DVDs; Dan Watkins Coin Man Walking DVD; L&L Pub World's Greatest Magic Close Up Vol 2; Tom Stone Silver & Sorcery video and Genii article;
Todd Lassen's Ramsay Stacks; Joe Porper/Paul Wilson Cylinder & Coins Set; Supreme's Stack O' Pence set; Tango Magic Stack of Coins Quarter Dollar;

Special thanks to Tim Trono who provided me the extensive reference listing from "Whisper", as well as permission to use it. Also, to Lawrence O on the TheMagicCafe bulletin board who is a virtual encyclopedia of magic sources. 

The following is a short list of reference to books, videos and products dealing with the effect known by several names, such as the Cylinder and Coins, Cap and Pence, the Stack of Quarters or Stack of Halves. In the basic routine, a stack of quarters is shown or borrowed and placed on back of the spectator's hand. The quarters are covered with a leather cone or other cover, and the quarters penetrate the hand. When the cover is lifted, the quarters are gone and have been replaced by pennies. Although I'm not sure of the history, the original of this effect seems to be credited to John Ramsay, as written up by Victor Farelli in John Ramsay's Cylinder and Coins. A modern version of this effect has been released by Roger Klause and is called "Whisper".

Click on a book title to see a full contents listing (where available). Click on a Dealer's name to go to the web links page.


Alan, Don: Pretty Sneaky. Includes Las Vegas Fairy Tales: A cap and pence routine with a die

Anderson, George: Magic Digest, Magic Fun for Everyone. 1972 perfect-bound softcover. Under the Coins chapter, includes Chips are Money, to make your own Stack using Poker Chips

Baker, Al: Pet Secrets. 1951 Hardcover. Chapter 6 on Money Magic includes The Stack of Quarters (New Method).

Baker Al & Todd Karr (editor): The Secret Ways of Al Baker. 2003 hardcover. Compilation of Al's Magical Ways and Means, Pet Secrets, Al Baker's Book, Al Baker's Second Book, Cardially Yours, Mental Magic, and more. Includes Stack of Quarters routine.

Baker, Al: Ways and Means. 1941 Hardcover. Chapter Two on Coins and Bills includes Al's Stack of Quarters routine.

Behnke, Leo: Thread Reference. Contains British Brilliancy: A clean-up for a Vanishing stack of Quarters

Bobo, J.B.: New Modern Coin Magic: Contains a couple of Stack of Quarters effects by Bobo, Milton Kort's Magnetic Stack of Quarters.

Bobo, J.B.: Watch This One!. 1947 hardcover. Chapter 6 on Coin Tricks includes Peregrinating Quarters, a Cap and pence/stack of quarters routine. A straightforward routine.

Bornstein, Mike: Ultra Coin Penetration. 8-10 quarters are borrowed and stacked. A dollar is rolled into a tube and sealed with a paper clip. The dollar is placed over the stack of coins and the coins shown inside the bill. All is placed on the back of your hand, with the spectator looking inside to show all is fair. One by one the coins penetrate your hand, and the bill is now empty. No difficult slieghts.

Brown, Ed: Feints and Temps of Harry Riser. Includes Harry Riser's The Cap and Quarters.

Burton, Steve: Hocus Pocus Junior, the Anatomie of Legerdemain. Latest (1997) reprint of 1635 book originally "Printed by T. H. for R. M." Includes Cap and Pence along with a ribald script.

Chanin, Jack: Encyclopedia of Sleeving. 1937 softcover. Includes the J.C. Stack of Halves and Quarters.

Craggs, Douglas: Masterpieces of Magic Vol. 1, 1946 hardcover book includes "The Cap and Pence" under section Pages From the Notebook of Graham Adams.

Devant, David: The Best Tricks. This 1931 book includes "Cap and Pence"

Dhotel, Jules: La Prestidigitation Sans Bagage, Tome V (French). Includes La Pile de Pièces et le dé à Jouer, or the Stack of Coins and the Die.

Duffie, Peter: Five Times Five Scotland. Includes Paul Wilson's A Trick With a Little Piece of Cork.

Farelli, Victor: John Ramsay's Cylinder and Coins. 1948 softcover, 36 pages. The classic treatise on this effect.

Galloway, Andrew: The Ramsay Classics. 1977 hardcover. Chapter 2 is John Ramsay's The Cylinder and Coins.

Ganson, Lewis: Art of Close Up Magic Volume 1: Cylinder and Coins: John Ramsay and Dai Vernon. A cylinder made from a bill is lifted to reveal a stack of chips with a cork on top. Chips taken in one hand, the cork is covered by the cylinder. The Chips vanish one by one, to reappear under the cylinder with the cork back on top. Cork is taken in hand and the chips are covered. The chips appear in the hand, the cork is gone. The cylinder is lifted to show the chips gone and the cork there.

Ganson, Lewis: Art of Close Up Magic Volume 2. Chapter 7 on "The Magic Sleeves of David Berglas" includes The Vanish of the Stack of Pence.

Ganson, Lewis: Routined Manipulation Volumes 1 & 2 (in one volume) contains Ken Brook's Chapter: The Ken Brooke Routine for the Cap and Pence

Guinn, Scott: My Best to You Volume 2 - Coins. 2009. Includes Stacked, Waxed, & Hijacked, Scott's version of the Cap & Pence

Hoffman, Professor: Modern Magic. This early magic book (1876) includes "The Magic Cover and Vanishing Halfpence", and calls it "a very old trick!" The routine uses a leather cap, a coin stack, and a die.

Kaplan, George G: The Fine Art of Magic. 1948 Hardcover. Contains The Stack of Quarters

Kaufman, Richard: David Roth's Expert Coin Magic. Includes John Ramsay's Cylinder and Coins (with Edge Grip)

Lancaster, Lou: Tricks of the Trade, Commercial Close-Up Magic. 1984 Softcover. Chapter on Coin Magic includes Money Runs Right Through Her Fingers. Utilizes a rolled up dollar bill, a stack of quarters (non-swiveling preferred), five quarters, five pennies, and a small aspirin container (optional).

Leveridge, Mark: 3rd British Close Up Magic Symposium. 1993 softcover. Includes Walt Lees Table Hopper's Coin Thru Hand.

Lorayne, Harry: Apocolypse Vol 1-5. 2000 Hardcover, page 289 Scotty York's Modernized Cap & Pence; Also Jonathan Townsend's Easy Ramsay, a version that does not use a stack of coins.

Mendoza, John: John - Verse Two. Includes Mary Wolf's The Cone and Coins Routine.

Minch, Stephen: Carneycopia. Contains John Carney's A Polite Penetration.

Neil, Charles Lang: The Modern Conjurer. A classic from 1902 with great magic. Includes The Cap and Pence.

Page, Patrick: The Topit Handbook. 1970's (circa) softcover book includes The Stack of Pence trick.

Parrish, Robert: Bert Allerton's The Close-Up Magician. This 1958 softcover includes The Stack of Quarters, using a rolled dollar bill for the cylinder.

Parrish, Robert: Great Tricks Revisited, Thoughts on Classics. Includes in the section on Joe Scott's Routined Classics, The Cap and Pence. A clean version using a leather or paper tube, and ability to use a simple, homemade gimmick.

Pierce, Lance: Roger Klause's Whispering Coins, An Encore for Connoisseurs. Roger Klause's Whispering Coins routine.

Racherbaumer, Jon: In a Class By Himself, The Legacy of Don Alan. HB 269pg. A broad collection of the magic of Don Alan, including video stills from Steven's Greater Magic Library Volume 28 on Don Alan, and the Magic Ranch series put out by William McIlhany. Includes Cap and Pence.

Ream, Lamont: Coin Creations. 1981 Softcover. Chapter Three Table Toppers includes New Cap and Pence Handling.

Richards, Paul and Mike Gallo: Mike Gallo Close Up Insider Notes. Includes Ramsey Without Tears (cylinder and coins)

Rogers, Mike: They All Work. Lecture Notes include Cap and Pence routine.

Rogers, Mike: The Complete Mike Rogers. Includes Cap and Pence routine

Sheets, Bob: Accumulations. Lecture Notes contain Bob's Stack of Coins, a variation of Heba Haba Al's Cylinder and Coins.

Smith, Chuck: Why Not? 1995 Lecture Notes includes Cap and Pence

Starke, George: Stars of Magic. 1975 hardcover. Includes Dai Vernon's write up of Nate Leipzig's Leipzig's Pride

Various: The 3rd British Close Up Magic Symposium Book Contributions from Michael Ammar, Trevor Lewis, Simon Lovell, Graham Jolley, Al Smith, Mark Leveridge, Chris Payne, Richard Wiseman, Dave Jones, Walt Lees, and Steve Bedwell. Includes a table hopping version of the Cap and Pence.

Vernon, Dai: Expanded Lecture Notes. 1964 softcover. Includes Coins & Cylinder (Apologies to John Ramsay). 

York, Scotty: Coins. 1975, 43pages. Includes The Blue Phantom, Close Up, a Cap and Pence routine using a custom gimmick

York, Scott: Decennial Prelection Lecture Notes. 1978 softcover. Includes Scotty's Modernized Cap and Pence, using a three high nickle gimmick, a candy mint, a special pen, and a roll of candy.

Magazine Entries

Burns, Jim: Nickel Dime Dazzer from Magic Magazine, November 1996, written by Mike Rogers

Vernon, Dai: Cylinder and Coins. The Gen, Vol 18, No. 1, May 1962, page 37

Galloway, Andrew: John Ramsay's Cylinder and Coins. Genii 2008 November, page 67. Issue also featured a DVD insert with Ramsay performing the Cylinder and Coins from Fantasma Magic.

Franzis, Jean Emmanuel. The Linking Ring Apr 2013 p 90 

McCarthy, E. Brian: A Routine for the Stack of Pence Trick. The Magic Wand Vol XXXV # 209 p 55.

Racherbaumer, Jon: Cap and Pence Handling, Kabbala Volume 1, Number 8, April 1972.

Rogers, Mike: Bits of Business, M.U.M. Magazine, July 1992.

Stone, Tom: Lodestones - Silver, Sorcery and Story Structure, Genii Magazine, Aug 2009, page 32


Alan, Don: Don Alan's Magic Ranch Series. Four videos of historic television footage. Features Don Alan performing close up magic and special guests for each show. This performance only set includes Don Alan's Cap and Pence routine

Bishop, Glenn: Tested Tricks for Tableside Tricksters (DVD). Includes cap and pence routine with a modification to the stack that enables the penny to adhere.

Brewer, Doug: Red Light. DVD, 2 Hours. Includes Coins In Single File: A prelude routine to Coins & Cylinder. Coins vanish one at a time and reappear under a small leather cylinder and Coins & Cylinder, using four half dollars, a small piece of cork and a leather cylinder (and maybe a little something else).

Brewer, Doug: Unexpected Visitor DVD. Coin Magic for the walk-around performer has 10 routines, including a "performance only" of Doug's version of the Ramsey Coins and Cylinder.

Carney, John: Chicarnery Video. Catman Press. Polite Penetration modernized Cap & Pence using quarter stack, borrowed bill, and pencil.

Carney, John: Carney on Ramsay: Lessons in Misdirection DVD. John Ramsay was one of the world's greatest exponents of visual and psychological misdirection. His most famous application of these ideas was in his brilliant Cylinder and Coins and Coins in the Hat. John offers his insights and interpretations of the Ramsay technique, explaining concepts which may be applied in tricks of every description, from close-up magic to stage illusion.

Dobson, Wayne: Early Dobson DVD. Includes Cap and Pence.

Gallo, Michael: Magic of Mike Gallo Volume 2. DVD. Includes Coins and Cylinder with Mike's take on the Spider Vanish.

Gallo, Michael: Siamese Coins. DVD. Includes Ramsay Without Tears, a Cylinder and Coins routine (different than on the Magic of Mike Gallo DVD)

Galloway, Andrew: The Magic of John Ramsay Volume 1. Video. Andrew Galloway performs and explains the magic of John Ramsay. Includes footage of John Ramsay. Includes Cylinder and Coins.

Lourido, Alex: Rainbow Coins. Prop and DVD. Prop provides for an instant one to six coin production. The DVD includes a routine for the set for the Cylinder and Coins effect.

Miller, Justin: Strolling Hands Volume 1. DVD. Includes Cylinder And Coins, Justin's take on Ramsey's masterpiece.

Roth, David: Expert Coin Magic #10 Folding Coins & Special Gaffs (VHS) or Ultimate Coin Magic Collection #1 (DVD - combined with David's Magic with Copper/Silver Coins & Expanded Shells). Includes Stack of Quarters

Roth, Rubinstein, Gallo: New York Coin Magic Seminar Volume Five Productions, Vanishes and Penetrations. DVD includes Cylinder and Cons (Bertini)

Roth, Rubinstein, Gallo: New York Coin Magic Seminar Volume Six Productions, Vanishes and Penetrations. DVD Includes Mark DeSouza's take on Cylinder and Coins.

Roth, Rubinstein, Gallo: New York Coin Magic Seminar Volume Seven Productions, Vanishes and Penetrations.DVD includes Mike Gallo's Ramsey w/Out Tears presentation of the Cylinder and Coins. 

Roth, Rubinstein, Gallo: New York Coin Magic Seminar Volume Thirteen Workers United. 2009 DVD. Includes Cap and Pence (Gallo).

Roth, Rubinstein, Gallo: New York Coin Magic Seminar Volume Sixteen Methods, Performances, and Presentations. DVD includes Cylinder and Coins (Franzis)

Stone, Tom: Silver and Sorcery. Video Download by Masters of Magic Academy. 17 minutes. Cylinder and Coins.

Thompson, Johnny: Commercial Classics of Magic - Volume 2. L&L Publishing DVD. Includes Nate Leipzig's Cap & Pence.

Tremain: John: John Tremain Volume Three - Encores. DVD. Acrobatic Matchbox/Stack of Coins: combined

Various: European Coin Magic Symposium Volume 1. 2010 DVD. Includes Giacomo Bertini's Cylinder & Coins, and Ginjiro's Cylinder and Chips, a version using casino chips instead of coins.

Various: European Coin Magic Symposium Volume 3. 2011 DVD. Includes Jean Emmanuel Franzis - Cylinder & Coins.

Various: European Coin Magic Symposium Volume 4. 2011 DVD. Includes Giacomo Bertini - Cylinder & Chips

Various: World's Greatest Magic Close-Up Magic Volume 2. DVD, L&L Publishing. Includes Paul Wilson's The Mystery of the Little Piece of Cork.

Various: World's Greatest Magic Stack of Quarters & Copper Silver Coin. DVD, L&L Publishing. Includes David Roth Stack of Quarters (using dollar bill) and Johnny Thompson Cap and Pence (adds Nate Leipzig's touches).

Watkins, Dan: Coin Man Walking. 2005 DVD. Include a performance only streamlined Cylinder & Coins.


Bornstein, Mike: Ultra Coin Penetration. A Cylinder and Coins routine with props.

Busby, Jeff: Nickel Saver. Props and instructions for Scotty York's Modernized Cap and Pence routine. Busby-Corin, Inc.

Cornelius, John: Perfect Pocket Trick. A Cylinder and Coins routine with props.

Johnson Products: Stack of Quarters/Stack of Halves. Uses vinyl cone, pivoting stack.

Klause, Roger: Whisper. Cap and Pence/Stack of Quarters effect. Stack of borrowed quarters with single penny resting on top is placed on the back of the spectator's hand. A cone made from a bill covers the coins, and the quarters penetrate the hand. The cone is lifted to show only the penny remains, and all is returned to the spectator. Comes with custom gimmick, 60 page detailed instructions illustrated by Greg Webb.

Lassen, Todd: Ramsay Stacks. A variety of stacks are available: Half Dollar 4 Coin Rigid Stack (appears slightly askew); Magnetic Ramsay Stack; Silver Dollar 4 Coin Rigid Stack.

Porper, Joe & Paul Wilson: Wilson/Porper Cylinder and Coins Set. Came with four Morgan silver dollars, a stack, a metal cylinder, rattle gimmick, wand, all in a presentation wooden box. Includes a full book with two handlings.

Rogers, Mike: Cap and Pence. Routine and props.

Sasco Magic: Stacked Halves (Solid or pivoting). A stack of half dollars vanishes and a stack of quarters remain. Available in Solid or Pivot Type. Also available as Stacked Quarters, solid or pivot style.

Starsinic, Frank: Leather Cylider. Nice leather cylinder for the cap and pence/cylinder and coins routine. In dollar or half-dollar size. The Ambitious Card

Supreme Magic: Six Old English Pennies - The Stack O' Pence. Undated manuscript from Supreme Magic. Effect originally came with pivoting Stack of Pence, small chips, matchbox, elastic band, 8 English Pennies, and instruction manual

Tabman: Casino Chips, Dice and Cylinder. Set consists of a four chip hard stack and four identical loose chips. Also includes two 3/8" dice, a deck of actual casino cards, a phony $1000 bill and a nice instruction booklet with two complete routines. The chips are genuine clay casino chips. Tabman

Tango Magic: Stack of Coins Available in Quarter, Half-Dollar, and English Penny sizes.

Wayne, Thomas: Leather Coin Cylinder. Beautiful all black leather cylinder for the Ramsey Coins and Cylinder routine. Stands 2 5/8" high with rolled and stiched ends. Comes with two wooden cocobolo wood end caps so cylinder keeps its shape. In Silver Dollar, or Half Dollar size. Very limited.