2018 50¢ The Art of Magic – Empty Bird Cage (Vanishing)
Value: 50¢ 1-ounce First-Class Letter Rate (Forever)
Issue Date: August 7, 2018
First Day City: Las Vegas, Nevada
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Pane of 20
Quantity Printed: 20,000,000
Magicians have been making objects and people disappear for centuries. These tricks are always popular with audiences, and can be complicated or simple. It is, perhaps, vanishing tricks that gave rise to the association of “smoke and mirrors” with magic.
One of the easiest ways to disappear onstage is with the use of a trap door and a puff of smoke. The magician positions himself above the door, says the magic words, and sets off a small explosion. This produces a thick plume of smoke and a bang that distracts the audience and allows the magician to quickly drop through the trap door. Sometimes the magician will reappear at the back of the room thanks to secret corridors through the theater.
A trickier way of making something disappear requires a little more setup. The magician sets up a mirror onstage at just the right angle so the reflection makes it appear like nothing is there. This is sometimes done underneath a table, with the magician raising a sheet above his head and letting it fall as he jumps behind the mirror. It can also be done in a box or cage with an assistant “disappearing” instead.
No matter how the trick is done, it is always surprising and exciting to see a magician make something vanish, including himself.