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Chris Westfall's Cig-A-Tration

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Chris Westfall's Cig-A-Tration

Watch some older clips of Chris performing this effect.

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Here is……

Chris Westfall’s



A coin and a lit cigarette are borrowed. The coin is wrapped in paper and the cigarette visually pushed through the coin, burning the paper with a flash and leaving the coin impaled on the cigarette. The borrowed coin is then magically restored and both the coin and cigarette are returned.


A coin with a hole drilled or punched through it (the hole should be just big enough for a cigarette or pencil to fit through) –available from most magic shops

A small square of flash paper

A regular coin which matches the gimmicked coin (borrowed)

A lit cigarette (borrowed)

A set of keys (borrowed)

Of course, the borrowed items do not need to be borrowed, but the effect will generally play stronger when they are.


Start with the gimmicked coin finger-palmed in your right hand and the flash paper in your right pant’s pocket.


Borrow a coin from someone (one that matches your gimmick) who has just lit a cigarette or is going to light one.

Hold the borrowed coin in your right hand between your index finger and thumb, concealing the gimmicked coin being held in finger-palm (fig. 1 and fig. 2). With your left hand, reach into your left pant’s pocket to grab a piece of paper. Feeling around, you notice the paper’s not in that pocket. Bring your left hand out, and apparently toss the borrowed coin into your left hand, actually Bobo switching it for the gimmicked coin. As you do the switch, look down to your right pant’s pocket. Your seemingly empty right hand now goes into the pocket, drops off the regular coin and pulls out the paper.

Fig 1

Fig 2

Note: When doing the Bobo switch catch the gimmicked coin with your left hand and immediately cover the hole with your thumb and second finger (fig. 3).

Fig 3

Wrap the gimmicked coin in the paper, concealing the hole by placing the majority of the paper folds to the front (from your view, you can see the hole in the coin through the paper Fig. 5)

Fig 4

Fig 5

Clip the coin and paper between a set of house keys so that you don’t burn your fingers in a minute. The keys are acting like a pair of tweezers.

Take the lit cigarette and place the cherry behind the coin and paper. Allow the cherry to touch the flash paper where the hole in the coin is, pushing the cigarette through the hole. As the cigarette touches the paper it will ignite, creating a very visual moment as the cigarette penetrates the coin.

Give the keys back and display the coin, now impaled on the cigarette, from both sides. Hand it over to the owner so that they can take a drag, showing that the cigarette really is going through the coin. While they’re taking a drag, take a small step back and casually place your hands into your pockets. Your right hand retrieves the coin ditched in that pocket earlier. Finger-palm the coin, and bring both hands back out.

You now have two routes you can go:


While the spectator is holding the cigarette, use your left hand to pull the coin towards the cherry and off the cigarette, showing the hole. Say “I’ll give this back in a moment, just let me polish it and clean off the soot.”

You now perform the Vernon ‘Spellbound’ change, switching the gimmicked coin for the borrowed coin. Display that the hole has restored itself and return the coin to its owner.


This option starts off the same as Option 1. However, once you’ve removed the gimmicked coin from the cigarette with your left hand, your right hand gets its finger-palmed coin clipped between the first and second fingers (fig. 6). Now as your right hand approaches your left hand, when the gimmicked coin goes out of view for a moment, your left hand allows the gimmicked coin to drop into the left hand’s fingers. At the same time, your right thumb pivots the clipped coin in the right hand up and out to the fingertips, supposedly covering the hole in the coin (fig. 7).

Fig 6

Fig 7

Ask the owner of the coin to hold their hand out, placing the coin at your right fingertips into their hand (being careful not to expose that the hole is gone). Have them close their hand around the coin. Take the cigarette from them and wave it under their hand, the heat from the cherry apparently penetrating their hand and melting the hole in the coin closed. Hand the cigarette back, and have them slowly open their hand to reveal the coin is restored.


This piece was born out of the desire for a cigarette through coin routine that made sense. To me, using the lit end of the cigarette for the penetration made sense. The beautiful visual due to the flash paper was an unexpected surprise and this has now become one of my strongest street magic or bar effects to perform. Have fun with this.

The cigarette through quarter gimmick with a mechanism was created by Pressley Guitar and first advertised in 1972. Using a simple coin with a hole in it was a pet effect of Ross Bertram’s.

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