Vanishing a small object is considered one of the most important talents a magician can have, and it is used by street magicians (making coins disappear), mentalists (to dispose of secret devices), escapologists (to "lose" handcuff keys), card magicians (for vanishing selected cards), stage magicians (for dove vanishes), and pretty much anyone else who does magic and has a clue about the art.
The magician has a small object (coin, cigarette, vole, etc.) in hand. The hand is closed, a few magic words are said, and when the hand is again opened, the object is gone! The object may then reappear, often from a spectator's ear.
The vanishing of small objects is made possible by a simple utility move, known even to beginning magicians, called the "muscle pass."
The move is simplicity in itself. An object is held just above the palm of the hand with the base of the thumb and ring fingers. The hand is then "snapped" open quickly, allowing the object to fall to the rapidly rising palm, and the impact with the palm sends the object shooting into the air more quickly than the eye can follow. The magician, with a little aim and practice, can muscle-pass an object from hand level and catch it in the mouth every time.
The mouth is a great place to hide an object since spectators are concentrating on the magician's hands. Once the small object is in the magician's mouth, I can be eaten (as when vanishing candies or cigarettes) or held for later reappearance.
The classic "reappears from the spectator's ear" effect requires just one more step -- the magician reaches a hand out near the spectator's ear, spits the coin silently and speedily into the hand, dries it on the spectator's hair, and pantomimes pulling it from the ear.
Magicians who want to keep talking during their routine may want to leave their mouth alone and use an alternative method to vanish objects. The most popular is a little device called a "thumb base." This is a piece of plastic or rubber that's the exact same color and texture as the magician's skin and is adhered to the base of the thumb with specially formulated magician's glue (or, alternatively, Scotch tape). The thumb base acts like a trap door in the magician's hand, and objects can be slid under it with a flick of the fingers, effectively vanishing them.