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I remember having a lot of fun as a kid with a “magic” wallet (apparently they are also called flip wallets, but they will always be Magic Wallets to me). I seem to recall making one out of fabric based on some instructions on the back of a comic … ok, I’m really aging myself there, aren’t I?
They were a lot of fun, but I was surprised to come across one of these grown-up versions the other day – a high-quality, leather magic wallet – and got curious.
Who Invented The Magic Wallet?
The standard version of the story says that the first “magic” flip wallets came into use in the 1920s in France. Waitstaff used them to quickly and securely hold receipts and cash. This makes sense and it’s the go-to story, although we’ve not been able to independently verify this.
How Do Magic Wallets Work?
The basic structure is really simple. The wallet consists of two separate plates that are held together by elastic straps that cross over each other, joining one side of one plate to the opposite side of the other. Anything placed on one open side will be covered by the elastic strap if the plates are opened from the opposite side.
The part that causes people to flip out is that notes are not released when you reopen from the other side! They are covered by the other set of elastic straps.
Five of The Best Magic Wallets
These full leather grown-up versions are true minimalist wallets that will bring back memories and start new conversations!
For those of you that want “just the facts, Ma’am”, here are the wallets we’re going to cover. Four are made of genuine leather, one is faux leather, and all have at least four credit card slots and a minimalist profile, making them a fun alternative approach to the standard bifolds out there.
OK, let’s go through those in more detail!
Flap Boy Slim Leather Magic Wallet by Jaimie Jacobs
Dimensions: 4.06 x 3.27 x 0.31 inches
Card Slots: 6 outside, 2 inside
The first wallet we’ll cover is the Flap Boy Slim. We’ve covered this one before in our list of minimalist wallets, and it’s easy to see why. This slim and elegant wallet would be a good choice even without the magic features!
It’s made from smooth and supple Italian leather and has no bells and whistles. Its a minimal set up that still manages to have six exterior card slots and two internal ones. Each can comfortably hold two cards, so this wallet can hold 16 cards in total! This wallet comes in a beautiful gift box too.
|Pros:||Slim, elegant, minimalist wallet, available in at least 13 color combinations. Comes with RFID protection.|
|Cons:||Somewhat pricier than the others on our list.|
Hunterson Minimalist Leather Men’s Magic Wallet
Dimensions: 3.94 x 2.95 x 0.31 inches
Card slots: 4 external, 2 internal
The Hunterson is next up. This is another minimalist style wallet good for front pocket carry. The leather is high quality (though not quite at the level of the Flap Boy) and this wallet also comes in a nice range of colors and complementary elastic strap colors.
Like the Flap Boy Slim, this wallet also comes in a beautiful gift box.
|Pros:||Slim, elegant, minimalist wallet, available in at least 12 color combinations. Comes with RFID protection.|
|Cons:||External pockets are tight. One card each is fine, but it’s tough to squeeze more in.|
Garzini Magic Wallet, Leather with ID Holder
Dimensions: 3.94 x 2.95 x 0.39 inches
Card Slots: 6 external, 2 internal
The Garzini is a lovely step up in quality. You can see they added leather straps instead of the usual elastic, which adds to the general sense of this being an elegant wallet. You’ll notice too that both of the strap sets are horizontal instead of the usual horizontal and “X” pairing. This is a nice twist on the idea, even if it looks a little less “classic magic wallet” in style.
The ID holder adds a practical feature, with a standard clear window plus thumb slider design.
Sticking with the trend, this wallet also comes in a beautiful gift box! Guess there’s a pattern in these purchases…
|Pros:||Slim, elegant wallet with ID holder, available in at least 12 color combinations. Comes with RFID protection.|
|Cons:||The leather straps are attractive, but may not grip cash in as strongly as elastic – be careful if you only have a few notes|
J.Crew Magic Wallet in Black Leather
Dimensions: 2.75 x 4 x 0.31 inches
Card Slots: 4 exterior
This wallet from J.Crew Mercantile (essentially the same as a J. Crew Factory outlet) is a no-frills magic wallet available in black leather only. The elastic straps are also in a complementary black, so there is really no “choose your color” option to make this your own.
Having said that, the leather is good quality and this is a great little wallet if you only need a few cards – there are four external card slots but none on the interior. While this reduces the carrying capacity, the whole point of a minimalist wallet is to carry less anyway, and the lack of internal slots gives this wallet a “clean” look that just works.
|Pros:||Slim and attractive wallet for front pocket carry|
|Cons:||There are only four card slots, that are very tight to start with. This may be an issue if you need to carry more than a handful of cards|
CKLT Slim PU Leather Magic Wallet
Dimensions: 3.93 x 2.75 x 0.19 inches
Card Slots: 4 exterior
Last on our list is the only faux leather option we’re featuring. Made from PU Leather in a variety of color combinations, this is the “fun” end of the range. Having said that, it’s a very practical slim, front pocket carry wallet. Like the J. Crew above, this one doesn’t have any interior pockets. That means less cards, but also less temptation to “stuff” the wallet and lose the benefits of a slim wallet!
|Pros:||Slim and simple, lots of color options, excellent budget option|
|Cons:||PU Leather makes this “feel” less elegant and more of a novelty wallet (still lots of fun though!)|
Magic Wallets – Thats a Wrap!
Hope you enjoyed this article! We had a lot of fun and trips down memory lane, but these are actually surprisingly practical slim, minimalist wallets. Maybe this is a whole other category for our Types of Wallets post?
As to which of these is the best, that’s a matter of personal taste, budget, and card holding requirements. Nevertheless, we do have a favorite, it’s the one we covered in our minimalist wallets article earlier:
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Last update on 2022-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API