Review: Miracle Pickpocket by R. Paul Wilson

Review: Miracle Pickpocket by R. Paul Wilson

If you have always found Troy Hooser’s Charming Chinese Challenge to be a beautiful coin routine (it really is) but were daunted by all the sleights and moves you needed to master to pull off the effect, you’d be mighty pleased to meet its nifty “little brother”… Miracle Pickpocket by R. Paul Wilson. An interactive close up coin magic routine that involves your audience, it’s a modern day miracle that is fun and easy to do. Read on to find out why I consider this clever close up routine perfect for your next table hopping gig, or to show off the next time you’re at the pub with friends. It might even score you a few free drinks at the bar 😉


Miracle Pickpocket is a simple effect that is incredibly baffling. R. Paul Wilson has taken a classic effect in magic, and given it a couple of clever twists that will delight your audience.

Here’s what happens: A coin it confirmed to be tied onto a loop of string. Five other coins are then threaded onto the loop with the coin threaded through the string locking them into place as an example of an ancient wallet for money with holes in the center. It would take a miracle to remove the coins from the string. The spectators hold the loop on a marker which is then covered by a napkin. With a gentle shake the coins penetrate the cord falling into the magician’s hand proving. At the end everything is examinable.

The Miracle Pickpocket has an engaging presentation taught in detail by one of the foremost sleight of hand artists in the world. In addition R. Paul Wilson teaches some optional phases including a visual penetration of the cord through the coin.

Unboxing Miracle Pickpocket by R. Paul Wilson

As you can see in the picture of my set above, you receive a set of five large coins measuring 4 cm in diameter and 1mm thick, along with a length of black cord about a metre long that fits perfectly when threaded through the square hole in the centre of each coin. It’s pretty obvious that the actual props you get differs entirely from what’s featured on the marketing collaterals (actual Japanese 5 Yen coins linked on a thin red thread) and normally I’d be upset that what we see isn’t what we get BUT in this case, I’m actually really really glad!

Now just to be crystal, the coins provided are not legal tender so please don’t think you’d be able to spend them in China! However they certainly do look interesting and people will be intrigued by their appearance. If you practice the art of Fengshui, you’d recognise them as lucky coins; one one side you have the eight trigrams or more commonly known as “bagua”, and on the other side of the coin are the Chinese characters for a blessing of “peace wherever you go”.

These brass coins are a whole lot bigger than your American half dollars. And if you’re lucky enough to have silver Morgan dollars lying around, you’ll find that these are even larger in comparison too. So visibility will not be an issue at all, as these coins are certainly sizeable and have an audible clink sound since they’re made of metal. The pictured 5 Yen coins in the official ad copy are a lot smaller but of course, once you’ve learnt the routine, there’s nothing stopping you from using them if you so wish but you’ll have to find a length of string that fits the hole accordingly.

To pull off this nifty trick you’ll also require a pen (or Sharpie which you should already have) and something to give a form of cover when you loop the coins and cord over your pen… like a paper napkin which you can easily grab from a restaurant or eatery. You don’t need any refills otherwise since the coins are practically built to last and if you take care of the cord properly, the string should last you for a long time.

Let’s talk USP (unique selling points)

R. Paul Wilson’s Miracle Pickpocket is definitely one of those “pack small play big” effects that takes up very little pocket space but can entertain many. You involve spectators, which is always a big bonus since people do like to see the magic happen in their hands, and since the routine is pretty much self-working all you have to do is focus on your presentation and patter. Everyone loves a good story and a mind-boggling puzzle, so give it to them!

As always, Paul does a stellar job in the tutorial, which is about 20 minutes long (inclusive of real life performances and demos), and all the years of him presenting magic lectures around the world certainly shows. Of course, you should think up your own patter and make the presentation your own to suit your performing character… Be cheeky or mysterious or maybe a bit of a trickster… the world is your oyster! For me personally, I use the alchemy angle, where I’m able to manipulate the properties of metal, and after having everyone examine all the props, go on to show how the coins can— at the will of my mind— effortlessly slide off the knotted cord and fall freely unto the table below or right into their cupped hands.

Spectators almost always demand to check the coins out later, and you absolutely can. There are after all, no gaffs or gimmicks that you need to secretly ditch. And if you really really want to, you can do the routine again for your adoring audience since there’s nothing to set up or prep beforehand 😉 Everything’s done right under their noses!

TLDR: Miracle Pickpocket by R. Paul Wilson

Fast to learn and easy to do, Miracle Pickpocket is a clever multi-phase mystery from one of the world’s foremost experts in con-artistry. This sneaky Penguin Magic exclusive gives you the ability to “melt” metal coins off a length of cord. Everything can be fully examined, the routine may be instantly repeated, and your audience will swear you’re a true alchemist! This comes recommended, especially if you’re looking for an interactive effect that doesn’t have anything to do with cards, looks different from the usual coin tricks, and takes up practically zero pocket space.

Picture of ning
Ning Cai is a Singapore Literature Prize nominated author, who was also long listed for the Epigram Books Fiction Prize in 2016. A bestselling writer, she is also recognised for her illusionist/ escapologist stage character Magic Babe Ning, and recognised by Channel News Asia as South East Asia's first professional female magician.

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