Pickpocket, as practiced by some magicians "for entertainment purposes only", is the act of "stealing" items off a person without their knowledge.
Pickpocketing has enjoyed a long association with conjuring depending on sleight-of-hand and misdirection.
It was being shown as an act on the stage in London around 1929 by the Italian Dr. Giovanni who continued performing it into the 1940s. It was also being done on the American stage in New York that same year by Walter Sealtiel.
One of the common effects performed in a pickpocket act is the Watch Steal.
Other magicians known to have performed pickpocket acts include:
- Joe Stuthard (1930s)
- Jean Lupin (1930s)
- Sirdani (by 1938)
- Blackstone (1930s-40s)
- Eddie Joseph (late 1930s)
- Vic Perry (by 1949)
- John Calvert (1950s)
- Ricki Dunn (1950s-90s)
- Dominique (1950s-80s)
- Roger Crosthwaite (1960s)
- Gerard Majax (1970s)
- The Professional Stage Pickpocket by Ricki Dunn (2006)