Lay out the form of the capital letter Q with coins on a table and ask someone in the audience to select a number and then ask that person to count up from one until the number is reached, beginning at A and stopping on the circle, for instance at B, then counting back again beginning with one, but, instead of counting on the tail, pass it and go around the circle, say, to C.
The performer gives these instructions to the person doing the counting. The one selecting the number must not tell the performer what the number is, and the latter is to leave the room while the counting proceeds.
The performer, before leaving the room, is to tell which coin will be the last one counted.
Take, for example, the number 7. Counting from A to B there are just 7 coins and counting back the last number or 7 will be at C. Try 9 for the number and the last one counted will also be C.
The number of coins in the tail represents the number of coins in the circle from the intersection of the tail and circle to the last number counted. For instance, the sketch shows 4 coins in the tail, therefore the last coin counted in the circle will be at C or the fourth coin from the intersection of the tail and circle.
By slipping another coin in the tail the location of the last coin counted is changed, thereby eliminating any chance of exposing the trick by locating the same coin in the circle every time. This can be done secretly without being noticed.
Excerpt from the book:
THE BOY MECHANIC – BOOK 2
1000 THINGS FOR BOYS TO DO
HOW TO CONSTRUCT DEVICES FOR WINTER SPORTS, MOTION-PICTURE CAMERA, INDOOR GAMES, REED FURNITURE, ELECTRICAL NOVELTIES, BOATS, FISHING RODS, CAMPS AND CAMP APPLIANCES, KITES AND GLIDERS, PUSHMOBILES, ROLLER COASTER, FERRIS WHEEL
HUNDREDS OF OTHER THINGS WHICH DELIGHT EVERY BOY WITH 995 ILLUSTRATIONS
PUBLISHED 1915, BY H. H. WINDSOR CHICAGO
POPULAR MECHANICS CO. PUBLISHERS