Dia Vernon’s expert sleight of hand technique and extensive knowledge garnered him great respect. He was a mentor to numerous famous magicians. Due to his extraordinary knowledge of sleight of hand, Vernon has long been affectionately known as The Professor. Harry Houdini (who in his early years billed himself as “The King of Kards”) often boasted that if he saw a card trick performed three times in a row he would be able to figure it out. Vernon then showed Houdini a trick where he removed the top card of the deck and placed it second from the top, then turned over the top card to again reveal the original card. Houdini watched Vernon do the trick seven times, each time insisting that Vernon “do it again.” Finally, Houdini’s wife and Vernon’s friends said, “Face it, Houdini, you’re fooled.” For years afterward, Vernon used the title The Man Who Fooled Houdini in his advertisements.
Dai Vernon spent most of his life traveling all over the United States of America looking for card cheats, and anyone who might know anything about sleight-of-hand with cards. He was famously under-credited for much of the work published in Jean Hugard and Frederick Braue’s Expert Card Technique, though a later edition included an extra chapter which acknowledges Vernon’s contributions. In fact, a huge portion of the sleight-of-hand had been discovered by Vernon over years of searching. In the late 1800’s Nate Leipziger saw a magician at a child’s party and wanted to learn more about magic.
He learned his craft from books and had the belief that magicians were supposed to develop their own techniques. So rather than perform the effects he learned from magic books he developed his own methods. One of his early creations was the Coin Roll, where a coin rolls over the back of the fingers. Nate’s original version however had the coin not only rolling over the backs of the fingers, but the hand would be turned over and the coin would continue to roll on the palm up fingers as well.