In The Sword in the Stone-Dead, I have my magician-detective Benjamin Vickery (alias ‘The Great Vicari’) demonstrate how the coin-in-the-bottle trick is done. You can perform this trick yourself – if you have the right props. Search on Amazon for ‘folding coin trick’ and you will find various types of coin offered. I paid about a fiver (£5 sterling) for a folding ten pence coin – though some sellers seem to be asking considerably more.
You can also buy empty bottles, but it’s much more fun to buy a full bottle and make the wine disappear! (If you are under age, ask an adult to help with this part.)
Contrary to what Vickery says in the book, you don’t need to smash the bottle to get the coin out – just tip the bottle upside down and whack it really hard.
If anyone knows how Vickery performed the clockwork grasshopper in the matchbox trick, then please contact me – I’d love to know how that one was done…