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Hello everyone! It has been a long time since I have posted anything on this forum but I thought I would share my extensive thoughts on the new book by the esteemed Dr. Michael Rubinstein. It not short by any means, but it is thorough and I call it like I see it. If you have any questions, please let me know. I hope you enjoy it and I thank you for your kind attention!


There has been a lot of buzz in the last few months about a new coin book coming out on the market, which led to the first printing selling out very, very quickly. I was fortunate enough to have gotten an advanced copy almost three whole weeks before the official release date of June 1st, 2020, and I have worked through almost the entire book save for a small percentage. That small percentage is made up of the effects for which I did not assemble the props/gimmicks, but I probably will eventually do so. So, what is this mysterious book I am referring to? A new personal favourite – Rubinstein Coin Magic by Dr. Michael Rubinstein. At the time of writing this is still a brand-new book, a 500-page hardcover published in 2020 by R.O.P.S. Press and it contains a whopping 900+ crystal clear B&W photograph illustrations, taken by the author and his wife, Karen Dorangrichia. If you are familiar with Dr. Rubinstein (a now-retired D.V.M.) and have studied/performed any of his previously published work as I have for years, you will already be familiar with a lot of the content in this book. That should not deter you from getting it because just about everything has been completely updated with newer, cleaner, and/or more economical handlings. This book also includes some of his marketed items such as Fusion, Smileys and even some work on his revolutionary Rattle Purse. Also included are many pieces that have never been previously published in print or on video. These items are especially a big treat! I will go on record right now to say that this book is destined to become a classic that belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in coin magic, and to be of similar importance to Modern Coin Magic by J.B. Bobo and Expert Coin Magic by David Roth. I want to clarify up front that I will be picking and choosing a few things out of each chapter that I really like, enjoy, and/or appreciate. There are some things in the book that I was not keen on, simply because they just do not suit me and my style, but that does not make them bad – they may just well be good for you, dear reader, so do give everything a try! I also want to point out that it may seem at first glance like such a short time to have already worked through almost everything in the book, and it is, however, I have been studying the work of Dr. Rubinstein for years and as such, I am quite familiar with a lot of the moves and routines already, save for the previously unpublished material. That familiarity made the reading that much more expedient, but it also allowed me to really appreciate the updates or subtle changes given for each item where they have been made.

Chapter One This book begins by teaching the sleights and moves that are used and featured in the effects and routines throughout, the first of which is a signature creation of Dr. Rubinstein, the R.O.P.S. Move, which stands for Retention Open Palm Steal. At its core it is a technique for vanishing a single coin, but you will also learn a few other uses for this unique sleight. If you have ever struggled to get the timing right with this move, the description and the photos will help you get it down. Chapter Two Here we will find various vanishes, Shuttle Passes, Loads and Changeover Palms. I have my own Retention Pass that I developed long ago for my body mechanics and will not change, but his Variation Retention Pass is great for anyone that wants to work on such a vanish. Fingertip Load is a different, more open way of doing the L’Homme Masque load – this will take some getting used to, but it is a great production load! Spellbound Changeover Palm/Spellbound Changeover Palm Variation and Display is a sneaky way to do a changeover, especially the latter. It gives a nice open look to it. The Nowhere Palm Changeover Palm is exactly what it sounds like if you are familiar with the Geoffrey Latta technique and is exceptionally clean and economical! Chapter Three Here you will learn a great variety of click passes, including the Air Drop Click Pass which has a carefree and open feel to it, and the Snap Down Double Click Pass, which can appear tad cozy if you hesitate too much, but is really deceptive! The Nowhere Palm Click Pass/Double Click Pass was not something I particularly liked because for my larger hands, using half dollars makes it rather awkward to execute. Even trying it with larger coins, it still does not feel right, but it is still a unique click pass. Chapter Four Spellbound-abound in this chapter and my standout favourites happen to be the first two described, Impromptu Touch Change and The Wave Change. The Touch Change gives the appearance of just tapping or quickly rubbing the coin with your forefinger and causing it to change. With the Wave Change you can cause the change while your fingers are lightly open, and it looks like you never even touch the coin! The Cartwheel Change fits into the Acrobatic Change category with seated and a stand-up variation given. Those of you who like Edge Grip work will enjoy the Triple E.G. Spell at the end of the chapter.

Chapter Five This chapter brings you false counts and a few sundry sleights and utilities, such as the age-old Fingertip Utility Switch with two versions, one by the author and the other by Mike Gallo. Both are smooth and easy to do. Another move that I cannot seem to stop playing with is The Slide Move, which is a one-handed, one-for-one switch of two different coins (i.e. switching a copper coin for a silver one, or a normal coin for a gaffed one), and while this switch is best done with soft coins, it can be done with clad coins or other non-soft coins with plenty of practice. Chapter Six This details the work on the Stealth Palm, a move that I never really got into but have put a good amount of work into, simply to have it in the toolbox, even though I have probably used it in performance less than a dozen times. The technique is solid, and it absolutely works but you really must know your environment and your angles because it is wholly dependent upon those things. The angles will change depending on whom you are performing for (height-wise) and there are general rules that Dr. Rubinstein outlines to help you get them down easily enough. Chapter Seven This outlines the matting technique that is used later in the book for certain effects – it is more suited for formal shows than anything else, but it can be used whenever you have two of the requisite close-up mats with you. If used correctly, it is a devilishly simple, expedient, and clean technique which will allow you to clean up. Also described is a device made with playing cards to help with pocket management of your coins/coin-like props. This is not something I will use because I have other ways of dealing with it, but if you do not, or if you find yourself in a pinch, one or more of these devices can easily and quickly be made up to do the job. Section Two is where the fun really begins with all the routines and effects! The opening effect of Chapter Eight, Copper/Silver, is The Purse and the Glass, Rubinstein’s homage to the David Roth Purse and Glass effect. This handling is also great for making use of the aforementioned Rubinstein Rattle Purse – a coin purse that contains two hidden American half-dollar coins in its lining, and which allows you to create the illusion of coins inside, even when it is completely empty. This can give you a devastatingly deceptive advantage over your audience! Chapter Nine is entirely dedicated to his Twilight Zone Wild Coin, which was originally published back in 1985, and which he also performed on Penn & Teller: FOOL US! in 2018. This is truly a showpiece routine and the moves used are different from what is normally used. This chapter also includes no less than eight variations, plus you are given the full script and handling which he used on FOOL US! I particularly like the way he has routined the handling for the show because there is such a natural flow to it, with an easygoing pace, but there is an underlying subtlety that I noticed many years ago on my own, and which he points out in the book: In this handling of the plot, the coins do not simply change colour as with most versions – they also change in value. That little detail can go a long way! In Chapter Ten you will find several Spellbound effects, using many of the moves taught earlier in Chapter Four. Very often when you see this effect it is performed without any sort of ending, but in Shattered Spellbound, you end with the copper coin turning into a bunch of loose American pennies – quite different! Chinese Explosion is another example where a genuine Chinese coin turns to gold and then vanishes, reappears, and changes again. For the finale, it changes into a handful of loose Chinese Feng Shui coins! Chapter Eleven focuses on Coins Through the Table and my favourite one is the CSB Coins Through the Table, which uses ungimmicked copper, silver, and Chinese coins. There is also a very whimsical Giant Four Coins Through the Table which uses four jumbo coins! The latter is not necessarily difficult but if you do try it out, it may feel a little awkward at first, simply given the size of the coins, but the routining actually makes the method a bit easier. Chapter Twelve focuses on the Coins Across plot. The Specciolini Brothers is the best one in my opinion because it is done completely in the hands, no table needed and suitable for all venues. Right behind that is the Shell CSB Coins Across, which is based on his Tallahassee Jumping Coins except it uses a shell and three different coins, whereas the Tallahassee Jumping Coins uses only three normal coins. Chapter Thirteen gives you plenty of wonderful coin productions and vanishes to use, but to me the most novel and entertaining one is Magical Money Rap, which is a production of four coins to a rap song. This is not something I would ever use, but I really enjoy the novelty of it – it reminds me a lot of my late friend Simon Aronson and his ‘Rap-Ace-ious’. The given rap song is rather personal to the author, but he does give alternative suggestions to use which make it more generic. Vegas Math is a clever blend of Coins Across and Gadabout Coins (2-in-the-Hand, 1-in-the-Pocket) with a slot machine ending! Next up in Chapter Fourteen: Coins and Cards with a mix of Matrix handlings and some card/coin mentalism effects. The standout effect by far is the original Voodoo Revelation. It requires and extensive (relatively speaking) set of props but if you like the effect it is well worth seeking them out. In this effect a card is chosen, then a colored sticker is chosen and attached to one of four coins. The sticker jumps from coin to coin magically, and the coins later reveal the identity of the chosen card, after which the chosen colored sticker is found on its back! I really like the Two Coin Monte which is a two-card reverse Matrix effect. If you like Matrix effects, this one will not disappoint because it is a visual and very magical. Triple Coin to Card has the feel of a Matrix effect but done with a marked coin, which travels under your business card three times. In my mind this one is a real worker because it can be performed on any surface, the coin could conceivable be borrowed and in the end, you can give out your business card. In Chapter Fifteen you will find magic with gaffed coins. In Silver Extraction you pull the silver out of a coin, leaving a clear interior, after which the coin is eventually restored. Thumb Through Coin is a great handling for the old Karate Coin, and in Smileys you change a sad face drawn on a half dollar to a smiley face, which turns into a smiley face button, which then transforms into a jumbo smiley face button! He also includes a handling for quarters called Smileys Jr. In Fusion, you borrow a quarter and penny, only to cause the penny to be embedded in the quarter, later being magically separated. The Double-Faced Coin Routine is an interesting effect where you show the audience a double-sided coin (one that is the same on both sides) at the outset of the effect, later on it changes a couple of times and the audience is not sure that what they originally saw was really what they saw! This is a clever way to use something that laymen are aware exists, then use it against them! His Bent Coin Routine is one of the more clever versions out there that does not require any in-performance “tools”, and the convincer that a coin that was borrowed is actually the one that was bent is just as strong as having it signed. Chapter Sixteen is a collection of miscellaneous effects but a few standout favourites of mine are The Purse Routine, which is a Coins to Purse effect that makes particularly good use of his rattle purse gimmick. Another is his Nest of Boxes in which a marked silver coin and a copper coin perform a duet in the form of a Substitution Trunk effect, with the marked silver coin eventually found in the smallest of a nest of brass boxes. Coin in Coin Roll is the old Ball & Tube but done with a coin and a paper coin roll, and finally Polarized Plastic is a novel quickie where you cause a pixelated image of a coin to appear in a plastic disc, which then turns into a real coin and then back to a pixelated image and then a plain “clear” disc again.

Chapter Seventeen, Coins & Poker Chips is one of my favourite chapters in the whole book because the effects quite different, almost new, and yet very novel. All the effects use stickers on poker chips. One is a clever and useful force of the names of three different coins on each of three spectators. This is not limited to names of coins, however – you can use anything which can be written on blank circular stickers and stuck on the chips. Poker Chip Spellbound starts with a normal poker chip, in the center of which a sticker with the image of a silver coin appears, which then changes to copper, to silver to copper and eventually, a Chinese coin. The chip itself does not change – just the image on the sticker! Beyond this, there are several mentalism effects using this chips and stickers combination, and Three Coin Monte is an entire 6 to 8-minute presentation of a Monte which is very entertaining! I really love playing around with the effects and ideas in this chapter because they are quite magical and vastly different from things normally seen out there these days. Chapter Eighteen is the Friends section where you will find some excellent contributions from friends of the author. Nathan Kranzo presents his Shuzbut Coins where three copper coins appear, then change into three silver coins. Young gun Moritz Mueller brings you his Slide of Hand Vanish, a rather difficult vanish and reproduction of a coin, which can also be used as a complete vanish – not my sort of thing but very clever indeed! Tom Gagnon teaches his Shell-Acted, a beautiful penetration of a coin up through a table and a playing card underneath a shot glass, which is reminiscent of the Bob Kline Copenetro. Marc DeSouza shares his miserly (not cheap to put together) Cylinder and Coins for Three Friends, which is my absolute favourite effect of all. Among other contributors you will find David Roth, Miguel Ángel Gea, Giacomo Bertini, John Carey, Lawrens Godon and more. There is even a great effect with an actual chicken recipe courtesy of Karen Dorangrichia, who is married to the author. The book is rounded out with Chapter Nineteen, which contains over 400 different puns for various occasion. If you are like the author and you like the groan-iest of groaner puns (and I am and I do!), you will really appreciate this section. In fact, if you go back to Chapter Seventeen there is an effect that has a bunch of possible puns to use as part of the scripting, depending upon which coin stickers you are using. How bad are these puns? Oh, they are glorious; in fact, I tried submitting ten of them to a pun competition and I was sure at least one would win, but no pun in ten did. Get thee to a punnery! Chapter Twenty is the Curtain Call section. It contains three bonus effects and handlings, namely Chinese Explosion II (and alternate handling to the Chinese Explosion described back in Chapter Ten), Quarter Steal (a very clever steal of a quarter as it is inserted into an envelope) and Baseball Miser’s Dream (pretty self-explanatory, yes?). These were a nice way to end the instructional portion of the book. Throughout the book you will find inspirational quotes (some witty, some genuinely insightful and others, hilarious) from the author and a few other recognizable (and maybe some not-so-recognizable) names from history. It has taken a lot of space to write about this massive book, but I do hope it did not bore you to death and I highly, highly recommend checking this book out if you have any interest at all in coin magic. The Rubinstein brand of coin magic is decidedly different from most others, and that is something that I really appreciate about it: standard-ish, yet different and unique. I also appreciate the fact that he provides some personal (read: unique) and alternative ways to do common coin moves, some or all of which may or may not work all that well for you, but which it will never hurt to try and take for a test run. What Dr. Michael Rubinstein gives us in this book is a gift, a way of thinking outside the box a bit, challenging us to be different and unique, to find alternate ways and means for our magical “problems”, and hopefully, the inspiration to go out and share it with our fellow magi.

- Dr. Joaquin M. Ayala de Cédoz, Ph.D. 07 of 07 of 2020
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