There is a trick in the book ‘The Card Magic of Paul LePaul’ that has fascinated me since my youth: it is the ‘Cards and Envelope Mystery’. The effect is that four signed Aces disappear from the deck and appear in a sealed envelope.
It is a great trick — it has a simple plot, and the construction is as simple as possible. The handling is straightforward, and there is nothing complicated about it. OK, you use an advanced sleight of hand to steal the cards from the deck, turn them over and then put them in the envelope. But that keeps away the ‘magicians’ who are only interested in self-working material.
I offer a variation of the ‘Diagonal Palm Shift’ (DPS) that makes a difference. Working performers will notice that the handling is much smoother.
My preparation of the envelopes is the same as LePaul’s trick. I use the torn envelope because I can give it to the spectator at the end. I think the torn envelope preparation is still the most practical method.
Most of the time I use a trick wallet that contains the envelope. For more formal presentations, I use the classic method (described in the book) with the pile of envelopes. Roberto Giobbi describes his variation and handling in one of his books; read it — it’s excellent.
There’s not much to change about this classic method. It is the most direct way.
The spectators sign the four cards. While they are doing this, four indifferent cards are placed face up in the middle of the deck. I use a casual and straightforward ‘Braue Reversal’ for this.
I replace the signed cards in the deck, which I square and turn face up. Now I perform the DPS. The basic handling is the same as the classic DPS, but I have added a simple move that puts the deck in the correct position to be spread out on the table.
This is done after the DPS, when the deck is turned face up, just before it is spread out on the table. Important here is the position of the left fingers, which have to grip the deck in a certain way.
The first finger is curled up on top of the deck. The other fingers are at the front end of the deck on the underside. The deck can be gripped in this way without the help of the thumb (which rests near the inner end of the deck).
After performing the DPS, the left hand immediately takes the deck between the fingers and lifts it up and forward, turning it face up. The deck is then placed in the dealing position in the right hand, over the cards in the palm. This provides good cover.
The tilt of the deck provides cover from the front. The left hand lifts the deck. The video shows how this move looks like:
After a short pause, the left hand takes the deck from the right hand and moves forward towards the table. The deck is then spread wide so that the spectators can see the four reversed cards in the centre of the spread (presumably the four Aces).
The deck is ready to be taken and spread out on the table.
The left hand, with the cards in the palm, goes into the pocket to remove the pile of envelopes, loading the signed Aces.
If you watch these movements, you will see that all the actions are natural and seem innocent. It seems as if the right hand is simply turning the deck face up in preparation for spreading the cards on the table.