Reference Guide

to the
Cap and Pence, or

Stack of Quarters 

Cap and Pence

by Doug A. (  

Last Update: 05 Oct 2007 Added Professor Hoffman's Modern Magic (1876); Charles Lang Neil: The Modern Conjurer; Entry in Hocus Pocus Junior; Tabman's Casino Chips, Dice and Cylinder;
10 May 2007 Added Carney on Ramsay DVD

Special thanks to Tim Trono who provided me the extensive reference listing from "Whisper", as well as permission to use it. 

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 When the cover is lifted, the quarters are gone and have been replaced by pennies.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

Allerton, Bert: The Close Up Magician. Includes The Stack of Quarters and features a folded bill cylinder

Anonymous: Hocus Pocus Junior. This ancient manuscript from 1634 includes a version of The Cap and Pence.

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.

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. $10

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

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

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.

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. The classic treatise on this effect. (c)1948, 36pg, paper

Galloway, Andrew: The Ramsay Classics. Includes John Ramsay's 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

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. Contains The Stack of Quarters

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

Leveridge, Mark: 3rd British Close Up Magic Symposium. Trevor Lewis, Simon Lovell, Steve Bedwell, Mark Leveridge, Dave Jones, Richard Wiseman, Graham Jolley, Al Smith, Chis Payne, Walt Lees, Michael Ammar. Coins,c ards, matches, mentalism, chop cup routine, table hopping cap and pence. 52pg large size comb bound. Mark Leveridge Magic.

Lorayne, Harry: Apocolypse Vol 1-5. pg289 Scotty York's Modernized Cap & Pence

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.

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

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

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 Chop Cup, Cap and Pence, Benson Bowl, Scotch and Soda, and lots more. $45

Richards, Paul and Mike Gallo: Mike Gallo Close Up Insider Notes. Sponge Ball Memories (Eddie Fetcher), Three Ball Routine (Balls and Net), Ramsey Without Tears (cylinder and coins), Seashells and Balls, Psychological Coins to Glass, Mike Meets the Fab Four (four coin routine), Gold Kaps (coins), and the Coin Act (coins and purse). $10 Denny & Lee's

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

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

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

Smith, Chuck: Why Not? Lecture Notes. Includes: Ring Ceremony, Cap and Pence, Coin Toss, Switch-a-roo Monte, Cardrise, On a Tear, New Wil-O-Th-Wisp, Sleeving Techniques, Finale Cards to Pocket, and Chip Change. $25. H&R Magic Books 

Starke, George: Stars of Magic. 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. Mentalism effects, magic with cards, coins and matches, a Chop Cup routine and a table hopping version of the Cap and Pence. 52 pages. £8.00 $16.00 Mark Leveridge

Vernon, Dai: Expanded Lecture Notes. Dai Vernon Cup and Ball Routine, The Changing Cards,Name a Number, Thought Card From Pocket, Hints on Side Steal, Migratory Cards, Bluff Card to Pocket, G.W. Hunter False Shuffle, Snap Crimp, Mental Discover, Two Cards to Pocket, Follow the Leader, Two Cards Through Magazine, Minde Reading Expansion of Texture, Ball Cone & Handkerchief, Chinese Classic, Gemini Cards, Paul Rosini's Thumb Tie, Coins & Cylinder, Telekinetic Cards, The Forgotten Trick, plus comments and odd notes. $8.00 Magic Inc.

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

York, Scotty: Modernized Cap and PenceApocalypse Vol. 3, No. 1, January 1980. Pages 289 – 291.  Complete explanation of construction and routine with illustrations.  Uses a nickel stack, lifesaver candy and a dollar bill for the cylinder.  Also a magnetic pen.  Appears to be an impromptu routine.

York, Scott: Decennial Prelection Lecture Notes. Astrology Deck, Card in Menu Stand, Walking Talking Card Box, Business Cards and Aspirin, Kid Stuff, Stand Up Ring Routine, Chinese Cigarette Paper, Modernized Cap and Pence, Iron Pills, Two card routines. $10. Denny & Lee's


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, such as Jack Gwynne, Johnny Platt, Clarke Crandall, George and Betty Johnstone, Al Flosso, Richard Himber, Jummy Reneaux, Sam Berman, Karrell Fox, Jay Marchall, Chan (Vic Torsberg), Ralph Pierce, and Neil Foster. Includes performances of Don Alan's chop cup routine, Don Alan's Cap and Pence routine, Richard Himber's Linking Rings, Johnny Platt's cups & ball routine, among much more. $103 ppd William McIlhany.

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.  DVD also includes Coins to Glass, Cups and Balls, Three Shell Game, Die-Namic Diamonds.

Brewer, Doug: Unexpected Visitor DVD. Coin Magic for the walkaround performer. 10 routines: Sounds Familiar (coins across in the spectator's hands), Backhanded (3 different coins vanish and appear under a card and then instantly revert back to your hand), Famous Three Coin Trick (vanish and reappear and  transpose back into a coin purse), EZ Triple Wildcoins (2 half dollars change to English pennies and then to Chinese Coins), Down Spout (great and easy coin in bottle), Captivating (very clean production of 3 coins from the cap of a pen), Hook Revisited (a reworking of the Jennings/Ramsay Hanging coins), Wishing Cards (impossible production of 3 coins from between 2 playing cards), Payout (a follow up to Wishing Cards wherein the coins vanish and reappear back between the 2 cards), and finally there is a "performance ONLY" of Doug's version of the Ramsey Coins and Cylinder. $35

Carney, John: Chicarnery Video. $38. Catman Press. Polite Penetration modernized Cap & Pence using quarter stack, borrowed bill, and pencil. Chill Pack card deck production. Mercurial Cards change color and entire pack changes to backs, blank, then (real) regular. Cor for the Pass or Side Steal advice. Calligraphic Cash borrowed bill to pen. Sanverted version of Dr. Daily's Last Aces. Everywhere, Nowhere and On your face.Polite Penetration Cap and Pence routine using stack, bill, and pencil. Chill pack, Mercurial Cards, Calligraphic Cash bill in pen. Sanverted. Nowhere and On Your Face.

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. $38

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 The Triple Restoration, The Ramsay Cups and Balls, Cylinder and Coins, The Ramsay Colour Change, The Cards to Pocket, Puzzling Thimble, Cut and Restored Rope, Slow Motion Coin Vanish, Five Thimble Production, Six Card Repeat & "The real secrets of misdirection".

Roth, David: Expert Coin Magic #10 Folding Coins & Special Gaffs. Includes Magic Mint, Coin in Bottle, Biting a Coin, Scotch & Soda, Cigarette Through Quarter, Copper-Silver-Brass, Dime & Penny, Stack of Quarters, Eraser Coin, Karate Coin. Running time 79 minutes.

Thompson, Johnny: Commercial Classics of Magic - Volume 2. Includes: The Travelers - Card in Envelope with Vernon's handling, Dai Vernon's Triumph, George Blake's Endless Chain, Vernon's Poker Deal (with Zarrow Shuffle), Max Malini's Chink-A-Chink, Nate Leipzig's Cap & Pence, and Metal Card Miracle (Princess Card Trick) as done by Jacob Daley. $ 30 L&L Pub.

Tremain: John: John Tremain Volume Three - Encores. Acrobatic Matchbox/Stack of Coins: combined; Gymnastic Aces: Aces are flipped out of deck; Three Silver Balls: tinfoil ball effect; Vanishing Rings: Ring Flight; 4 X 4: Two packets of cards change places; Vanishing Pen; Tear and Repair: Torn and restored money; Rota-Note: Borrowed bill spins on the palm; Polo-Link: Two Life Savers® are linked ; Ring on Rope: Finger ring and rope; Spook-Key: Card trick; Solo Twist: Card deck vanishes, leaving selection; Prize Winner: Spectator loses in 51:1 odds; Advice on Close-Up Act, Close-Up Set Up and Tremaine Prop Box. $30

World's Greatest Magic DVD: Stack of Quarters & Copper Silver Coin. David Roth Stack of Quarters (using dollar bill); Johnny Thompson Cap and Pence (adds Nate Leipzig's touches); David Roth Copper/Silver; David Roth & Johnny Thompson Presto Chango (copper/silver); Michael Close Chicken Teriyaki (copper/silver transposition). 54min $20


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. $25-$27

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. $40

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. $24 each. The Ambitious Card

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

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 $110, or Half Dollar size $85 Very limited.