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Color Change

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Color Change is generic term for any card sleight in which one card is apparently (and often visually) changed into another. The usual procedure is done by passing a hand over a deck which is held face up by the other hand. Many methods require Palming a card. More advanced methods allow the magician to apparently be holding only a single card before and after the change, such as Ross Bertram's TeBe Change.

The Color Change seems to be a creation of Felicien Trewey, dating from sometime near the end of 19th century. [1][2]

One of the first descriptions of a Color Change is "Trewey's Back Card Palm" in Sleight of Hand by Edwin Sachs (1877) (page 114 in the Dover Publications Inc. edition, 1980). One of the earliest books to use the actual term "color change" was New Era Card Tricks by August Roterberg (1897).

Color Changes in Books

  • (1902) Transformations. Two Hands. First Method, published in Expert at the Card Table, by S.W. Erdnase. Now more commonly referred to as The Erdnase Change, or the Houdini Change.
  • (1927) Lesson 35 in The Tarbell System of Magic. Reprinted in Tarbell Course in Magic, Vol. 2 (1942, pg. 172-180).
  • (1995) J.K. Hartman's Blow Away Change, published in After Craft, pg. 72. A card is turned face up on the deck, then the magician raises the deck to his mouth so he can blow on it. Upon lowering the deck, the face-up card is seen to have become an entirely different card. Also published in Card Craft (pg. 109), but the explanation is marred by an imprecision.
  • (2001) Shapeshifter, published in DeSouza's DeCeptions, pg. 89. With the deck face down in left-hand dealing position, the top card is turned face up, lifted off the pack, and suddenly changes into another card. Popularized by David Blaine on his first network special, Shapeshifter is Marc DeSouza's handling for an Oscar Munoz card change that first appeared in The Trapdoor (Issue 48, 1993).
  • (2004) Jay Sankey's Shanghai Change, published in Sankey Unleashed (pg. 143). With half the deck face up in the magician's left hand, he fans the other half with his right hand and waves it over the squared half, causing the face card to change.

Color Changes in Genii

  • 2005, July - Erdnase Sideways, by Guy Hollingworth. A side-to-side (instead of back-to-front) method for executing the Erdnase Change (see video on right)
  • 2007, September - The Backhanded Change, by Kostya Kimlat. A delayed color change that takes place with the deck face up in left-hand dealing position when the right hand is palm up over the deck, as opposed to palm down.

Color Changes in Other Periodicals

  • Kabbala Vol. 1, No. 9, September 1972 - Ed Marlo's Eidetic Change. A card is placed face up on the table, whereupon the magician waves his hands over it, causing the card to change instantly into another card.
  • MAGIC, September, 1991 - Hiro Sakai's Duck Change. A card held face-up in Biddle Grip above and behind the deck changes as it is propelled onto the pack.
  • The Trapdoor #42 (1992) - Harry Levine's Hurricane Change, variation of Erdnase's Transformations Two Hands First Method (a.k.a. the Erdnase Change) that exposes more of the card before the change.


  1. My Magic Life by David Devant (1931)
  2. An Intimate Portrait of a Famous Fantaisiste by Dr. Henry R. Evans in The Linking Ring, Vol. 17, no. 8, October 1937, page 476.