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Pen-Ultimate by Collectors’ Workshop

(c. 1990) (Submit Review) (Submit Update)

Effect: The Bill Tube — There is an enduring charm to this wonderful effect. A bill vanishes, only to reappear in a locked brass cylinder. But there’s a tragic flaw, too. What in the world is a bill tube? It’s a magician’s prop, examinable, yes, but a prop nevertheless.

CW had a better – much better, we think – idea. Hand the spectator your pen! That’s it: A bill tube fashioned from a ballpoint pen.


  1. bill disappears,
  2. spectator is asked to write his name and address (for the I.O.U.), but the pen doesn’t write.
  3. “Must be the ink supply”, says the performer. The barrel of the pen is unscrewed to reveal spectator’s bill.

Why didn’t someone think of this before?

Effects in which an object borrowed from a spectator is caused to disappear, only to be found inside some unlikely container, are justifiably popular. The latest marketed version is Pen-Ultimate. In this, a piece of paper money is borrowed, and its serial number noted. The bill now vanishes – perhaps apparently burned in Seabrookian fashion.

Apologizing for the loss, the performer offers to send the loaner a personal check. For that purpose, the hapless spectator is given a pen with which to jot down his/her address. Unfortunately, the pen doesn’t write. ‘”Perhaps something is blocking the ink flow,” observes the performer. The barrel of the pen is unscrewed, and found within is the borrowed bill.

What’s involved, of course, is an adaptation of the classic Bill Tube, designed to look like a ballpoint pen. In their ad copy the manufacturers trumpet, “Why didn’t someone think of this before?” Someone did; the late Eric Mason released his Golden Retriever over a decade ago. That prop was more elaborate, incorporating a pull. It was made of brass, which allowed the effect to be done with a marked lit cigarette if desired. Unfortunately, the Mason version didn’t look all that much like an ordinary pen. The reinvention under discussion, made from plastic and metal, looks quite common, as it should.

The outfit comes with a duplicate pen that functions normally. Thus, you can have the spectator sign the bill at the outset, later ringing in thegaffed pen after the rolled bill has been loaded inside. It’s a highly commercial prop, allowing for what appears to be an impromptu effect with a powerful climax.

(Phil Goldstein – Genii Magazine, June, 1990)
Text Source: lybrary.com – click for details

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Approx. Price: $55.00 (2000) ***

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