Let’s check out the classic Ching Ling Coin Box explained, and how passing the solid coin through the piece of glass is done, plus other similar close up penetration tricks.
In this post, I am going to delve a little more about this
close up penetration trick, where a coin seemingly melts through a sheet of glass inside a wooden box.
I am also sharing with you other related magic wooden boxes which include Trapdoor by U. F. Grant, Lippincott Box, and the Strong Box by Joe Porper.
First, let’s sort out the confusion over the names of these magic props.
I find there are websites which call the product names Ching Ling Coin Box, Coin Of The Realm and Lippincott Box as one and the same thing.
They are all wooden boxes for magic tricks, but are they different as I will elaborate them.
Ching Ling Coin Box
When I explored online for Ching Ling Coin Box, I found there are two versions.
First, is this square-like wooden box which looks like the steel ball through glass prop, but it comes with slots, instead of round holes.
Its approximate dimensions: 3.15 x 3.15 x 1.77 inches.
This Ching Ling Coin Box also has the same features as the steel ball through glass box, exposed vintage hinges, clasp and the slightly wider lid or cover (indicated in the picture below).
How does the Ching Ling Box work?
Ching Ling Coin Box Explained
The secret of making the coin to drop through the two slots is the same as the steel ball through the glass box trick.
You have to lift up the glass piece (actually is a clear acrylic) from the bottom of the box.
Place one side of the glass piece onto the top edge of the box facing the spectator, and then bring the lid down to hold it in place.
In other words, the glass piece is now lying diagonally inside the box, as illustrated below.
From this video at 0:30-0:31 you can see the performer
inserting his right index finger pushing up the glass piece
from the bottom up to the edge of the box, before closing
the box lid.
You can clearly see the sloping glass piece from the picture below:
One side of the glass piece is now resting on the edge of
the Ching Ling box facing the spectator.
Here is a visual captured from the video clip, where you can see the glare of the edge of the glass piece between the lid and the box.
I think when you are secretly moving the glass piece up onto the box edge, you should tilt the wider side of the lid downward a little.
So the wider side of the box lid can hide the edge of the exposed glass piece from being seen by the spectator in front.
After the act, at 0:46, he uses the fingers of his right hand
to push the glass piece back into the box, just before he
Ching Ling Coin Box Revealed
Here is another video clip which I can show you how this solid through solid penetration trick is done.
The picture below shows the performer uses his left thumb to push up the glass piece.
So that one side of the glass piece is placed on top of the box, before he shuts the box lid.
Now the lid is closed and you can see the the edge of the glass piece between the lid and the box.
In fact, you can clearly see the exposed glass piece between the lid and the box from 0:38 to 0:57.
After the trick, at 0:57 to 0:100 he uses his left hand fingers to push the glass piece back into the box, just before he opens the box, as shown below.
Here is another video clip where you can clearly see the glass piece between the box and its cover.
The picture below is when he uses his fingers to push the glass piece back into the Ching Ling Coin Box after the act at 0:27.
After I have written this post, I came across an old listing of a used Ching Ling Coin Box Deluxe in eBay.
According to the description, this Ching Ling Coin Box Deluxe is made in India.
On the listing, you can also view the secret, presentation routine together with illustrations printed in the instruction sheet.
I think it is similar to this Ching Ling Coin Box manufactured by David Robbins & Company (E-Z Magic), selling in Abbotts Magic Company.
It advertised in bold as a SPECIAL MECHANICAL BOX, and it can stand CASUAL EXAMINATION.
Its secret working it is different from what I think how the Ching Ling Coin Box trick is done, as I have explained.
Its secret is having a hidden pivoted door on one side of the wooden box, like the Lippincott Box below.
Now I know why someone in the Magic Cafe forum termed Ching Ling Coin Box as is an imported Lippincott Box with a slit cut in the lid and the bottom.
To do the trick, use your thumb to press the top part of that gimmick side inward, and the door will swivel open.
Tilt the box to let the glass piece to slide out about half way into the palm of your hand.
After the trick, tilt the glass piece back into box and press close the secret pivoted door.
I think this is the original secret working of the Ching Ling Coin Box.
Here is a video clip which uses this version of the Ching Ling Coin box.
You can clearly see he uses both his thumbs to push in the pivoted door on the side of the box, as he closes the cover at: 0:06
At 0:09, he tilts and shakes the wooden box upward, to drop the glass piece onto his left palm.
After the penetration trick, at 0:14 he spreads out his left palm as he pushes the glass piece back into the box.
Then he uses his right thumb to close back the secret swivel door.
Thinking that my view of how the trick is done could be wrong, I checked back some of the video clips for that hidden swivel door.
As you can see from the two pictures below, there is no hidden swivel door on the side of the wooden Ching Ling Coin Box as indicated.
Small Ching Ling Coin Box
There is another version of the Ching Ling Coin Box which is smaller in size and rectangular in shape.
As I haven’t seen the real prop, but from the pictures and video clips available online, I think the width of the glass piece is almost the same as the height of the box (lid excluded) as shown below.
In this video, the performer uses his finger to pull up the glass piece to the edge of the box.
You can see the glass piece through the slot on the box lid.
After the trick, in the midst of lifting up the clasp to open the box lid at 1:41, you can see the glass piece sliding down from the edge of the box to the bottom.
To see it clearer, slow down the YouTube video playback speed to 0:25.
While there are videos clips, you can see they do not have to pull up the glass piece to the edge of the small Ching Ling wooden box.
You can see the performer pulls down the box lid, and latches the clasp, without touching the glass piece.
He can secretly shift the glass piece by just tilting or giving it a little shake at the box, as seen from this video clip.
You can also just tilt and give a few knocks with the coin at the small box, to get the glass piece standing up against the inner wall, as seen from this video.
Similarly is this video clip, the performer just tilts the box slightly to one side and uses the coin to hit on the other side of the box.
It seems by tilting and hitting the box is enough to move the glass piece up from the bottom of it.
Here is an even easier way of doing this small Ching Ling Coin Box trick as seen in this video clip.
He inserts the coin into the top slot to move the glass piece up from the bottom of the box.
At the same time, he places the middle finger of his right hand underneath the bottom slot to prevent the coin from falling through.
To show the penetration effect, he just removes his middle finger slowly underneath the box, and the coin drops down.
After the trick, he tilts and lifts up the small wooden box to let the glass piece to fall back to its original position.
I do not know its origin and why it is called “Ching Ling Coin Box“.
To the Westerners, the name “Ching Ling” is synonymous with almost anything Chinese.
There is even a vintage Chinese checker game called “Ching Ling Chinese Checker“.
I think the Ching Ling Coin Box is most probably inspired by those Oriental ornament wooden boxes.
Ching Ling Foo
I don’t think the name of this coin penetration wooden box has to do with the legendary Chinese magician Ching Ling Foo (stage name), his real name is Chee Ling Qua.
Related: Ching Ling Foo was a the true Chinese conjurer from Peking, China.
Houdini complimented highly Ching Ling Foo for his fire-eating act.
There is this one-minute black & white film titled “Ching Ling Foo Outdone“, showing this Chinese magician with just a large piece of cloth, he first made a wooden tub of water to appear, then five live geese swimming in the water and finally a boy appeared on stage from the tub.
Here is a video of a Chinese magician performing one of Ching Ling Foo‘s famous tricks of producing a bowl of water with gold fish, with just a piece of cloth.
If you want to know how this magic trick in detail, click: The Gold-Fish Trick; Or, How To Bring Bowls Of Water In Which Gold-Fishes Are Swimming out Of An Empty Cloth
Read this free book about Ching Ling Foo, the Chinese Conjurer.
Ching Ling Foo: America’s First Chinese Superstar By Samuel D. Porteous
Click on this: Link (Pick PDF link)
Coin Of The Realm Magic Trick
The Coin Of The Realm is also a coin through glass trick performed with a wooden box with slots like the Ching Ling Coin Box.
According to Martin’s Magic site, the first version of Coin of the Realm was said to be released by Owen Brothers back in 1956.
It is a rectangular wooden box longer in length than the Ching Ling Coin Box and comes with a glass sheet.
Its approximate dimensions are: 4 X 3 X 1 inch.
In fact it is similar to another glass penetration trick prop called Cabala.
And the Cabala is similar to “The Ball Through Glass” box by John Snyder, Junior.
There is a possibility the Coin Of The Realm idea was inspired by John Snyder, Junior’s “The Ball Through Glass” box.
How does Coin Of The Realm work?
There is no demonstration video clip of Coin Of The Realm online, except you can find the prop selling at auction websites and eBay.
So this is just my two-cents how the Coin Of The Realm magic trick works.
Coin Of The Realm Magic Trick Revealed
After analyzing the Coin Of The Realm prop from various websites, I think this is how the coin seemingly penetrates through the sheet of glass.
Upon close scrutiny at the pictures of the prop, I suspected the bottom wooden panel under the glass sheet is a separate piece and it is movable.
Coin Of The Realm Box False Bottom
In other words, it is a false bottom which can slide in and out together with the glass sheet from the box.
This is a cutaway illustration of the Coin Of The Realm box with the false bottom out from the box.
The false bottom is almost undetectable, as it is well hidden or camouflaged next to the actual bottom of the box.
Furthermore, it comes with a locking mechanism.
I will explain how the trick is performed very soon.
To illustrate the false bottom, I use these five different Coin Of The Realm prop designs.
You need to pull out the parts as outlined in white color, where I think the movable false bottoms are attached to.
This is where I think the movable false bottom piece is attached to for this Coin Of The Realm by Milson-Worth.
This is another Coin Of The Realm design by Milson-Worth, Sun Valley, California.
This design is by Owen Magic Supreme.
The box below is by Dave Powell Magic Company uses a decorative design drawn with fine line to conceal the joint between the false and the actual bottom of the box.
This is another Coin Of The Realm box by Dave Powell.
You have to slide the false bottom panel together with the glass sheet out from the box, then the coin can only drop through the bottom hole.
As this closeup magic trick prop can be examined by the spectator, then this false bottom panel has to firmly locked before and after the penetration trick.
There has to be a built-in locking mechanism in the box.
After studying the pictures of Coin Of The Realm box, I think the brass clasp knob is the key to the locking mechanism, and it works like the crown of a manual watch.
You need to pull the pin of the knob gently to unlock the false bottom piece.
After the trick, you slide back the false bottom, and push the pin back in its original position to lock it.
Coin Of The Realm Magic Trick Explained
I think this is how to perform the Coin Of The Realm trick.
To avoid the spectator caught sight of the false bottom panel protruding out from the box, you need to raise the prop to the spectator’s eye-level.
I think the beveled box lid (raised sloping edge) is not the prop design feature.
The raised lid is meant to hide the false bottom panel when it is slide out from the box during the trick.
If you want to perform this trick at the table, then have your spectator seated.
First let him examine the box and the glass sheet.
Then give the spectator the coin to distract him for a moment; telling him to make sure that it is not one of those gaffed coins (shell coin or folding coin).
While he is distracted, you unlock the false bottom piece by lightly pulling out the clasp knob with your right hand.
Now rest both your elbows on the table, as you hold up the box at their eye-level.
Tell him to place the coin into the slot of the lid, and then get him to cup both his hands and place them under the box which you are holding.
To misdirect him again, instruct him to mentally concentrate hard on the coin.
Slowly you slide out the false bottom panel with both your thumbs, until coin drops through the bottom slot and lands on his cupped hands.
As he catches the falling coin, you quickly slide back the false bottom panel, and your right hand pushes in the clasp knob to lock it.
Now open the box to show the glass sheet is still inside, and let him examine the Coin Of The Realm box again.
Updated: Oct 2022
After I have published this post, I came across this used Coin Of The Realm apparatus selling in eBay.
It looks like my take on the method of the Coin Of The Realm trick is correct.
You can see from the picture below, I indicated the gap of the false bottom where it can be pulled out to let the coin drop through.
Trapdoor By U. F. Grant
Trapdoor is another version of coin through box trick by the
legendary magic dealer and inventor Ulysses Frederick
Simpson Grant (popularly known as U. F. Grant).
Note: To get free magic books by U. F. Grant, go to this blog post about free Paul Osborne Illusion Plans.
It is a slim square box with slots parallel to the hinge, and a slightly wider lid or cover just like the steel ball through glass box and the Ching Ling Coin Box as explained above.
I think the secret is also getting the glass piece out from the box and places it between the lid and the box.
But for the Trapdoor box, I think the glass piece is pulled up towards the side of the box with the clasp knob.
While his right thumb is still pulling up the glass piece towards him, he quickly closes the lid over the box.
That’s why you can see the raised lid near the hinge from this picture.
Here is a picture captured from the video performing the U. F. Grant Trapdoor box, where you can see the glass piece edge between the lid and the box.
This is the brief sequence of the video clip where you can see the edge of the glass piece exposed and then his right thumb pushing it in.
Lippinncott Box is not really similar to Ching Ling Coin Box or Coin Of The Realm in terms of concept and effect.
But I am including it, together Joe Porper’s Strong Box here because of the methods of loading the item into the box.
To the viewers, it’s a sort of a penetration effect; it’s a solid through solid magic trick.
What is a Lippincott Box?
Lippincott Box is a small wooden box is used for vanishing or
producing a small item like a billet, a coin, a bank note, a ring, or a key.
It comes in various designs and sizes, built by different manufacturers.
It is reported this Lippincott Box was created either by a vaudeville magician by the name of Mal Lippincott or Jack Lippincott, an amateur magician.
Back in 1949, this box was marketed as “Lippincott’s Quarter Go“.
It is said that the idea of the Lippincott Box is based on the Wonder Box.
It is a wooden box with lock and key, and the secret is one of its sides is movable, working on a pivot.
You can find the Wonder Box in the Professor Hoffmann‘s book “Modern Magic: A Practical Treatise On The Art Of Conjuring“.
Related: Here you can find more free books by Professor Hoffmann.
Lippincott Box Revealed
How does the Lippincott Box work?
The secret of Lippincott Box revealed below together with accompanying pictures.
The hidden opening pivoted on one side of the box is like a mini trapdoor, where you need to give it a push to open it.
After you have placed the palmed item into box, you close it.
You can see the outline of the secret opening at one side of the Lippincott Box from the picture below.
After you have dropped it into the Lippincott Box, you close the tiny pivoted doorway.
You can watch the secret of the Lippincott Box revealed in the video clip below.
Here is another version of a Lippincott Box aka Watch Box by Mel Babcock, which is bigger in size, which you can load a wrist watch.
The secret opening is also at the side of the wooden box.
Strong Box By Joe Porper
There is this new version of the Lippincott Box called Strong Box
It is made of steel and it was created by the late Joe Porper.
There are two versions of Joe Porper’s Strong Box.
Joe Porper Big Box Secret Revealed
The secret of the trick in the first version is undetectable even under close scrutiny.
The gaff is at the locking mechanism.
Then in 2010, Joe released Strong Box 2.0 version where I think the secret is at the back of the box.
The secret working of this box probably can be exposed if it is handled out for close inspection.
Joe Porper’s Strong Box 1.0 Secret Revealed
The secret of the first or the original version 1.0 Strong Box has been exposed by a German YouTube video clip.
He bought a pirated Strong Box prop from the Mainland China just to find out the how the trick works.
As explained in the video, it uses strong magnets to attach the staple of the hasp to the box, as shown below.
To open the lid of the box, you pull the shackle of the padlock.
You can watch the video snippet of the secret here.
This original version 1.0, you have to cover the box because you need to open the box lid when you are loading the item into it.
As seen from this video at 1:54, this Vietnamese performer is in the midst of opening the lid of the Strong Box as he places it inside the paper bag.
Then at 2:00, he puts his left hand back into the paper bag to make sure the opened box is properly positioned.
He takes a while to take out the box because he has to close its lid first at 3:00.
Similarly in this video, you can see another performer is taking his time to lift up the box, because he needs to close its lid first.
At 0:18, you can see this performer’s hand shaking inside the paper bag, as he places the box inside the bag.
It is because he getting the lid of the box to open before he can leave it inside the paper bag.
What I have read in a magic forum is this original version has a loud noise issue.
The noise is caused by the magnetic locking mechanism.
Unless you perform this Strong Box act with the routine by French magician Gaetan Bloom, as shown in its 2005’s version, called “The Poor Man’s Safe“.
With this routine, you can mask the clanking sound when you secretly close the box inside the brown paper bag, as seen in this video clip.
For an easier and a safer act, the black marker drawn slot on the paper bag should be pre-scored or pre-cut in advance.
You do not want to accidentally create a big tear on the paper bag when inserting the coin, thus exposing the opened metal box inside.
Joe Porper’s Strong Box 2.0 Secret Revealed
This is my own reveal of the Joe Porper’s Strong Box 2.0 which is based solely by studying the pictures available online.
Most, if not all the websites have only this picture featuring the front view of the Strong Box 2.0.
If I am not mistaken, there is no video clip demonstrating this new version.
For this Strong Box 2.0, you do not need to cover when you secretly load the item into the metal box.
But you have to palm the borrowed item and with the help of misdirection.
After analyzing the available pictures from the websites, I think the secret slot is between the lid and the back piece of the box, as indicated in the picture below.
From the picture above, you still cannot see the secret slot is because it is still hidden away.
Now take a closer look at the inside view of the lid pivoted to the box.
There is a slim eaves trough-like piece underneath the lid.
They are pivoted together to the side walls of the box.
As it is pivoted, it is movable.
This pivoted curved metal strip trough is to hide the secret slot.
You can see from the picture below that the lid is slightly shorter than the width of the box.
The box lid is slightly loose-fitting, so it can be shifted slightly to the front and back.
To open the secret slot at the back of the box, you slide the lid forward a little.
Now there is a narrow slot or gap between the lid and the box, but you still cannot see the secret slot because it is blocked by the trough-like piece inside the box.
The picture below you can see the secret slot of Joe Porper’s Strong Box 2.0.
When you push the coin, ring or the billet into the slot, the pivoted trough piece inside will move inward.
Once the item has dropped into the box, the pivoted trough piece will swing back to block the gap.
The trough-like piece works somewhat similar to the pivoted flap at the slot of a mailbox.
To close up the secret slot completely, you slide the lid backward so that it is aligned with the back side of the box.
If what I have just explained is correct, then the secret could be discovered if it is handed out for inspection.
To find out more information about this so-called steel Lippincott Box, read Joe Porper Strong Box trick secret post.
Coin/Ring In Ball Of Wool Trick
One old popular trick of making small items, particularly a coin to reappear is using a ball of wool or yarn.
The secret is by inserting a small slide or tubing.
You can find the coin or ring in the ball of wool/yarn trick in these free books:
The Magician’s Own Book or the Whole Art of Conjuring: Being a Complete Hand-book on Parlor Magic, called “The Dime In The Ball Of Cotton” on page 33.
The Magic Art, Volume I By Donald Holmes, called “Knarf’s Coin And Ball Of Wool” on page 107.
Bobo’s Coin Magic By J. B. Bobo, called “Coin In Ball Of Wool And Nest Of Boxes” on pages 72 & 73.
Disclaimer: I do not publish or host any of the books here. They are copyrighted to their respective owners. All content cited here is derived from their respective sources.