How did David Copperfield reassemble this Honus Wagner card?

The video is grainy and features some very cheesy “Copperfield banter”. Anyway, I remember this trick from when it aired and am curious how it works.

Here is the video.

Oh, here is a higher quality video. :slight_smile:

Better quality.

I’m assuming he didn’t sell his soul to the devil, so I’m out of ideas. There is a TV show on biography called breaking the magicians code, but I don’t think they ever covered this trick.

When he is reassembling the card he uses his fingers to cover the card pieces while he reassembles it. What does that signify? I don’t know, but that seems really unnatural and like he was hiding something. He may have either been unfolding the card, or attaching the creases using some kind of glue.

It seems to just be a sleight of hand trick using 2 cards. However I don’t know the hand movements he used.

Clearly the original card is neither written upon nor ripped up. So there has to be a duplicate. I wonder whether the guy on the left is a stooge, that would make the trick easier. I know we have at least one Doper who’s an accomplished magician, maybe he’ll drop in to the thread.

Not that he couldn’t be a stooge, but you didn’t realize “that guy on the left” was the Great One?

Have to be a fake card, then. (If not, Copperfield’s a complete tool.)

It’s a fake card. Copperfield has two.

Neither is an actual Honus Wagner card (it looks in ridiculously good condition for a hundred year old piece of cardboard).

Copperfield prepares by forging Gretzky’s signature on one copy of the card. The design of the card is such that Copperfield can expect Gretzky will sign the card at the top (light background with no image).* Copperfield switches the fake Gretzky signature card with the real one, tears it up, then produces the actual card Gretzky signed. Gretzky doesn’t check the signature to note any change in position.

It’s a clever illusion, though.

*He also can prepare a third fake card with the signature at the bottom, just in case.

I assume he meant the other guy, who was standing to Copperfield’s left.

I was assuming all 3 were in on it, so I don’t know if Copperfield would go through that much trouble. The real issue for me is how did he do the sleight of hand to reattach the card, and how did he switch it with a non-ripped one?

Like I said earlier, the fact that he used his hand to cover the pieces while he reattaches them implies he was doing something (he didn’t grab the pieces at the edges, he covered them up).

Well, for someone to allow a magician to tear up a half million dollar card, I’d say he was in on it. Add to that Wayne’s on-cue question about the creases…

Let’s just say the two stooges were plants without any history of acting classes.

Freeze frames of the card shows Wayne’s signature was different before and after tear-up.

So… just some really good sleight of hand in switching card pieces and folding and unfolding them.
Remember, people love to be in on the trick and go along with a magician to fool others by pretending they’re fooled. Welcome to the world of Kris Angel videos…

I’d assume Gretzky did not know what was going to happen; Copperfield had to have worked the trick with a random audience member previously. And I realize that Gretzky would have had to have signed the card at the top, due to its size and the fact he was signing it while holding it in his hand. I also note that he doesn’t hand Gretzky the full signature, so he won’t be able to determine anything’s wrong with it.

As for the sleight of hand in putting it together, I can’t say, but it boils down to the usual tricks – misdirection and skill. I’m not good at spotting that, but I know when it’s happening.

I’ve seen Gretzy try to act. He’s not that good. And, as I pointed out, Copperfield doesn’t have to use stooges to make the trick work.

Jackie Gleason?

Don’t be silly. Of course I meant Mark Levin. :stuck_out_tongue:


Tearing up an item and restoring it – dollar bill, playing card, etc. – is one of the oldest and simplest tricks in the magician’s toolbox. And of course, he did not tear up the actual card.

As for how it’s done, there are dozens of tutorials on you tube.

Copperfield is a hack.

There might even be three counterfeit cards in the trick: The “creased” card after he’s reattached the pieces might be the actual torn pieces actually taped together, or they might be a new fake.

Few magicians create tricks from scratch, and those that do will still use well known tricks as well. It isn’t the trick itself that matters, the art is in the presentation. Really good magicians can create pure magic with the oldest tricks in the book. That is what makes them good. Indeed some really good modern stuff is working out how to present old tricks in new guises.

Copperfield does create his own as well as use the old. His stagemanship is exemplary. Looking back on the old shows they don’t age well, a bit too much 80’s hair, and there is no doubt the shows tended to be aimed more at women, and trade on Copperfield’s looks and persona. But as a stage magician, he is hardly a hack.

Fair enough. I’ve actually seen him in person, fwiw. But this trick is pretty hacky. It’s like Bill Cosby telling knock-knock jokes.


Knock knock!

…who’s there?


…Orange who?