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Banker's Dream
by Professor Spellbinder

This is a variation of a classic magic effect called “Bank Night,” invented by Tom Sellers of Scotland, and published under the name “It’s Only Chance” in 1935. Through the years, many variations have appeared but I believe my version, first published in 1986, is the simplest and best. It is performed entirely in the hands, with no need for tricky trays or body work. It uses ordinary Dollar Store security envelopes, and best of all the method works with almost any "Bank Night" routine that has ever been developed. That's why I call it the "Banker's Dream."

The Basic Effect:

Several envelopes are presented to spectators, who freely choose the envelopes. They are told that only one of the envelopes contains money, and whoever chooses it, wins it. The last envelope belongs to the magician. The spectators open their envelopes one by one and all are empty except the magician’s, which contains the money. Over the years there have been many variations on this theme, and this method is compatible with all of them. Several sample routines from the 1930s to the 1980s are included.


The envelopes can be blank, or imprinted with letters, numbers, symbols, or funny sayings. You can even hand each envelope to a spectator to mark with a magic marker before you begin. The advantage of having the envelopes marked is that spectators can then choose the envelope they want by name, rather than having to pick it up (which often requires some sort of tricky tray). No additional props are needed with my method, and you don't go near your pockets at any time.

You can show both sides of each envelope at any time. You can start with empty envelopes and fill them with funny money at the start of the routine, then insert a real bill into one envelope with the backs towards the audience so they don't know which envelope it is, mix the envelopes, and then begin letting the spectators choose.

As a bonus, two related endings are included. One ending is an ungimmicked version of converting a five dollar bill into five one dollar bills to give away to the participating spectators (you should be so rich!). The other is actually a complete version of a burning bill routine where the "wrong" envelope apparently is consumed in fire and "by mistake" you are left with a piece of newspaper, which is then magically transformed into the bill everyone thought was consumed by the fire. The bill is the original one borrowed, and no thumb tips or any gimmicks are used in the routine other than pure sleight of hand.



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