Counterfeit Detection

Counterfeit Detection

This amusing little piece of magic can have a very strong effect on your audience. It may leave them wondering if the bill they have is really counterfeit!

What You Need

· 1-Dollar Bill
· 1 Mini Key Chain Black Light
· 1 UV Marker or Yellow Highlighter


Take your dollar and fold it into eights. Crease the edges so it packs flat and thus making it easier to finger palm. Next, take your UV marker and write the word counterfeit nice and large across one side of the bill, it doesn’t really matter if it is on the back or front. If using the highlighter just make sure the writing isn’t very noticeable. When the markings dry it will fade a bit and be more difficult to see which is good. I do recommend the UV marker over the highlighter, as its ink will be totally invisible.







Start with your prepared dollar bill folded up and in finger palm position of your right hand. Your mini black light key chain should be in your left hand pants pocket. Put some keys on the key chain to make it seem as though you use it regularly.

Ask to borrow a one-dollar bill, as you want to explain how easily it is to detect counterfeit money. You say, Many people know that the $100 bill is the most popular bill to counterfeit but people do not realize that the $1 bill is becoming more and more popular among criminals. Simply put, no one suspects a mere $1 bill is going to be faked. Here is how you can tell..

Take the dollar bill and show it front and back keeping your bill finger palmed in the right hand. Explain possible ways you might be able to detect if it’s counterfeit. You can make up things as you go. I usually talk about the way the bill itself feels. Comparing the stiffness of the bill to others. As you do this fold the bill in half and comment about the way it folds. Continue to fold it into fourths and keep commenting about ways that counterfeit money can be detected. Finally fold it into eights. Place the folded bill so it rests in the open palm of your left hand.

State that there is a really easy way to detect a counterfeit bill and it has 100% accuracy. A simple key chain can be used.

At this point look them in the eyes and ask if they have ever heard of such a thing. Perform a simple switch of the bills. The hidden bill in the right hand comes into view as you apparently transfer the bill in the left hand to the right hand. The spectators bill gets finger palmed in your left hand and ditched in your pocket as you pull out your key chain with the mini black light attached.

Hand the key chain to a spectator and ask them to press the button for the black light. State that simple black light (or UV) can be used to detect counterfeit money. Open the bill up and have them shine the black light over the bill it will say Counterfeit in cool glowing letters. Get your key chain back and give them the counterfeit bill.


They will walk away with a confused look on their face and perhaps question the rest of the money in their wallet. Well ok maybe not but it sure is an amusing piece to perform.

Extra Thoughts
Of course this can be done with any denomination but I’m cheap and you can always find someone with a buck on them. Perhaps if you can afford it, have a few bills ready to go folded up in your pocket. Simply palm the correct one when ready to perform the trick.

Like I stated before this little bit of magic won’t drop their jaws but performed in an impromptu manner this can be lots of fun. The switch is key but don’t make a big technical fuss over it.

The effect may seem more logical if you write “genuine” on the bill instead of “counterfeit” but I think the routine is more fun the way I have described earlier. You can also write out card predictions, numbers, names and this can work well if you do some pre-show work. You may also wish to use a thumb tip to do the switch.