Coin Magic Today

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Michael Kamen » 03/24/02 03:35 PM

Greetings all,

I am new to the forum (thank you Richard, this is excellent)! I have recently rekindled my interest in magic that was most intense back when half-dollar coins were relatively common. I have not seen one in day to day commerce in years. What are magicians using these days, or has all the wonderful coin magic developed over the years simply gone out of fashion?

If other's have thoughts about this, I would appreciate your sharing them on the use of the half, English penny, etc. as props rather than as everyday objects, vs. use of (possibly suboptimal) smaller coins like quarters.

Thank you in advance to all who respond.

Michael :)
Michael Kamen
User avatar
Michael Kamen
 
Posts: 338
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: SF Bay Area

Postby Pete McCabe » 03/25/02 12:27 AM

Michael:

Many magicians still use half-dollars. First to market rules the roost, don't you know.

Some magicians have moved to silver dollars. Easier to see and it's more impressive to produce/vanish/transform/etc. a larger coin.

Magicians who use both halves and dollars are using more old fashioned coins. They're a bit exotic while still being normal and non-suspicious. Also collectible-age coins have more meaning than plain halves that aren't in use anymore but aren't old enough to be interesting.

I personally use quarters, for everything. But I don't perform before large or even medium size crowds.

A couple of magicians are exploring switching from halves/dollars to poker chips, for their vastly superior visibility.
Pete McCabe
 
Posts: 2090
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Simi Valley, CA

Postby Michael Kamen » 03/25/02 08:26 PM

Thank you Pete, I appreciate your comments. I am still not sure what to do. Quarters are way small for my hands but on the other hand, pull out a coin that today is exotic and I find it hard to imagine people not assuming it is gaffed (which it is of course). Does anybody out there have a time machine?
Michael Kamen
User avatar
Michael Kamen
 
Posts: 338
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: SF Bay Area

Postby Guest » 03/25/02 09:08 PM

Well, i'm in the UK, but even i use Half dollars and old english pennies, as well as what ever coins i get handed if i'm in an impromptu situation.

I wouldn't be too worried about the coins looking gaffed, unless they actually are gaffed :)
Well, if you're performing on stage you might have to worry, but use imagination- borrow a quarter, magically change it into a half dollar, perform with the half dollar until your toenails curl, then hand back the half dollar as a sauvenir.
I'm not 100%, but isnt a half dollar worth more than a quarter, providing a meaningfull and if not profitable momento for your performance.
Just a few suggestions mate :)

John

[ March 25, 2002: Message edited by: Zoink ]
Guest
 

Postby Bill Duncan » 03/26/02 12:45 AM


...pull out a coin that today is exotic and I find it hard to imagine people not assuming it is gaffed (which it is of course).

You might be overly concerned for nothing. Why would anyone who hasn't visited a magic shop assume a coin was gaffed?

Many (American) laymen believe it is a crime to deface currency so the very idea of a gaffed coin is a distant possibility unless you're doing something that screams out for attention. If the coin is rare, in the collectable sense, the likelihood that you'd take a drill or lathe to it is even more remote. Even Kennedy halves are 'rare' enough to seem valuable to many people.

"Normal" gaffs such as shells and double-faced coins are unlikely to be suspected or even imagined.

;)
Bill Duncan
 
Posts: 1366
Joined: 03/13/08 11:33 PM

Postby Michael Kamen » 03/26/02 09:04 AM

Thanks to all for your kind insights, which I find quite reassuring. I think I need to get unstuck here and go materialize some half dollars. I do not suppose they are unavailable at a bank anymore. . .
Michael Kamen
User avatar
Michael Kamen
 
Posts: 338
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: SF Bay Area

Postby Jim Morton » 03/26/02 10:24 AM

You can still get half dollars at banks, but even there they are sometimes scarce. Plus, the coins from a bank are usually newer ones, which are pretty slippery compared to old silver half dollars. I always chuckle when I read in an older magic book, "Borrow a half dollar from someone in the audience." I use quarters whenever I can simply because they are more quotidian, and, therefore, less suspicious.

Jim
Jim Morton
 
Posts: 178
Joined: 02/07/08 01:00 PM
Location: San Francisco

Postby Pete McCabe » 03/26/02 11:57 AM

Michael:

Any decent coin shop that caters to coin collectors will have a variety of half dollars. Tell them you're looking for "Junk" quality and they'll point you in the right direction. I got a set of liberty dollars and walking liberty halves for about $2 each.

I thought it was a good investment. Real silver coins feel better in my hands.
Pete McCabe
 
Posts: 2090
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Simi Valley, CA

Postby Guest » 03/26/02 01:23 PM

I practise with US half dollars exclusively.
The older the better. If you go to a coin store, ask for "culls" That is what the dealers call the old coins that are not very collectable due to wear.
Or, you could go to one of the auction sites and look for a reputable (yes, some are) dealer. I purchased 60 Walking Liberty halfs at a very good price.
And when (or if) you decide to go with a particular half, and want to get some of the same style gaffed, check with Todd Lassen, who does 5 star quality work.
And, belive it or not, I was given a Kennedy half dollar in change today when I bought my lunch. So, someone must still use them.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 03/26/02 03:04 PM

I live in the UK, and We, like the rest of europe, are experiencing a similar problem with the Euro at the moment.

It was only yesterday that I went into Davenports and asked about expanded shells. They said, quite simply the only expanded shells they do are for half dollars. Thier reason: The Euro. They can't make them for the euro yet and it would be impractical for them to sell them now, as they will be almost obselete in like, a year.

So does that mean I'm supposed to wait two years until I can buy an expanded shell?

I'll just have to make my own.
Guest
 

Postby Pete McCabe » 03/27/02 12:42 AM

Drew,

You inadvertently point out two more advantages of using poker chips:

1) They work in any country; and
2) They can't be obsoleted by the government.


The question is: who makes good expanded poker chip shell, double-sided chips, flipper chip (chipper?), etc.? Is there a set of chips with ten ungimmicked red, 10 white, 10 blue, a shell of each color, double-face every combination. (All presumably made to minimize talking.)

If there isn't, why not?


Pete
Pete McCabe
 
Posts: 2090
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Simi Valley, CA

Postby Guest » 04/16/02 02:36 PM

Originally posted by Drew:
I live in the UK, and We, like the rest of europe, are experiencing a similar problem with the Euro at the moment.
Hi Drew,

Check out Presto Magic in the UK. I'm sure that they've started to sell Euro stuff. Can't swear to it though with my memory!

kind regards,

Graham Nichols.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 04/17/02 06:26 AM

Graham is right. Peter Crush of Presto Magic in the UK lists Cig thru Euro, Expanded 50 Euro Cent shell and a 1 Euro Uni*Coin (Scotch and Soda).
No website but he operates an eNewsletter.
trix@prestomagic.co.uk ;)
Guest
 

Postby Terry » 04/17/02 08:19 AM

The question is: who makes good expanded poker chip shell, double-sided chips, flipper chip (chipper?), etc.? Is there a set of chips with ten ungimmicked red, 10 white, 10 blue, a shell of each color, double-face every combination. (All presumably made to minimize talking.)
I had same question as Pete. Realized the range of colors, designs, and weight of the various chips might be restrictive on production of gaffs. I have 11.5 gm weight clay chips with card pips circled around each side. The edge is marked with dots around the circumfrence. They are roughly the same size as a dollar coin. Gaffs might possibly be made in metal, painted and designs screened on. As far as sun/moon - the designs and colors might pose a problem.
Terry
 
Posts: 1249
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Kentucky

Postby Carl Mercurio » 05/14/02 03:36 PM

A good place to purchase Walking Liberty halves, Morgan dollars or virtually any coins silver (and even gold) is American Numismatics. They usually run little ads in the Money & Investing section of the Wall Street Journal and will sell you coins by the roll or individually--and the prices are the lowest I've seen.

Speaking of alternatives to coins, I've tried playing around with casino chips. They're increasingly familiar to people because of the nation's gambling explosion. And the casino logos potentially make an interesting story line. But the weight and edges aren't great for palming and other work. Frankly, I use the silver Walking Liberty halves. Still, if you're interested you can get $1 chips at the poker table cashier at almost any casino.

By the way, playing Black Jack in Vegas a couple of weeks ago I was given two Kennedy Halves with a mint date of 2000. Honestly, I didn't even know they still minted the things...

One last thing....the new (well, relatively new) U.S. Dollar coins are great for matrix routines.
Carl Mercurio
 
Posts: 504
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: New York

Postby Michael Kamen » 05/14/02 04:48 PM

Thanks Carl. Are you referring to the Anthony coins which are kind of small or a traditional dollar size coin? I have started practising with halves and was also surprised that they are still minting the Kennedy head coins. The more I practice though, the more I think I should try the larger dollar coins.
Michael Kamen
User avatar
Michael Kamen
 
Posts: 338
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: SF Bay Area

Postby Bob Farmer » 05/14/02 05:22 PM

Several years ago, master metal & plastics wizard Roy Kueppers and I created a prototype set of poker chips for the reasons noted above and for other reasons. The set contained most of the standard gaffed coins, but the gaffs were all modular: that is, you could mix and match gaffs and regular chips (which were also part of the set). We also developed some new effects.

We will begin to market some of these in the near future.

A couple of things to note:

1. Most of the gaffed poker chips presently on the market are made of brass and are heavy and clunky. Real chips (and coins) are much lighter than brass and easier to manipulate.

2. Real poker chips are a bit large and have multi-colored edges. It would be very expensive to duplicate these -- the best compromise is something that looks close and is about the size of a 50 cent piece.

There is actually quite a body of information on tricks with chips.
Bob Farmer
 
Posts: 1738
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Short card above selection.

Postby Pete Biro » 05/14/02 06:36 PM

Someone might remember his name, but some years ago a magician from (I think) Germany, ah, Earhardt Liebenow!!! Lectured on magic with Poker Chips and sold a huge assortment of gaffed chips. They were really beautiful and well made. I guess they are out there in one of my "hidden garage boxes" and hopefully this coming weekend may take a look for them.

Another thing about coin sizes. To me, half dollars are like bridge cards, and dollar size coins are like poker size cards, much easier to handle, leverage, weight, etc.

Slydini's teachings with dollar coins was my base, and I have stuck with it.

My favorite (after coins through the table) is the Silver Dollar with U.S. Penny copper to silver winding up with the dollar size copper penny in the lady's hand!

Learned the routine from Frances Carlisle.

I was lucky to have a couple of really great teachers... :D
Stay tooned.
User avatar
Pete Biro
 
Posts: 7125
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollyweird

Postby John Pezzullo » 05/15/02 02:00 AM

Learned the routine from Frances Carlisle.
Was he related to Francis Carlyle?
John Pezzullo
 
Posts: 455
Joined: 03/16/08 05:19 AM

Postby Terry » 05/15/02 06:06 AM

2. Real poker chips are a bit large and have multi-colored edges. It would be very expensive to duplicate these -- the best compromise is something that looks close and is about the size of a 50 cent piece.
Bob, the chips I have are dollar size, 11.5 grams, solid in color with white dots around edges and the card pips around the 2 flat side edges. The colors are red, blue, white and black.

Would this make it easier to create gaffs?

Thanks.
Terry
 
Posts: 1249
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Kentucky

Postby Terry » 05/15/02 06:08 AM

Someone might remember his name, but some years ago a magician from (I think) Germany, ah, Earhardt Liebenow!!! Lectured on magic with Poker Chips and sold a huge assortment of gaffed chips. They were really beautiful and well made. I guess they are out there in one of my "hidden garage boxes" and hopefully this coming weekend may take a look for them.
Pete,
If you ever get the black hole known as your garage sorted out, you could probably retire from your earnings from EBay! :D
Terry
 
Posts: 1249
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Kentucky

Postby Bob Farmer » 05/15/02 07:48 AM

Originally posted by Terry Terrell:
"...the chips I have are dollar size, 11.5 grams, solid in color with white dots around edges and the card pips around the 2 flat side edges. The colors are red, blue, white and black.

"Would this make it easier to create gaffs?"

In order to have a set of poker chip gaffs that duplicate the many standard coin gaffs, you can't use a solid color chip. For example, the chip equivalent of a copper/silver coin, if made with solid color chips, would not be deceptive because the edges of the gaff would be off two colors.

Also, you can't use real chips because you can't machine them -- they are made of clay or plastic.

And for my idea -- a complete set of matching regular and gimmicked chips in five or six different colors -- I had to compromise strict reality with a plausible appearance.
Bob Farmer
 
Posts: 1738
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Short card above selection.

Postby Pete Biro » 05/15/02 06:45 PM

I just gotta relate this funny story.

Pat Page had lectured in Italy... some time later,in London, a guy from Italy comes up to Pat telling him how much he liked the lecture and that he had been practicing the sleight-of-hand that Pat had taught (coin work) and was now doing it with FISH.

"FISH?" Pat asked... huh??? The guy said "Yes, with FISH..."

Pat said, "Can you show me?" The brought out CHIPS and did the moves...

His English was not so good and he knew of FISH AND CHIPS and just got the wrong word! :D
Stay tooned.
User avatar
Pete Biro
 
Posts: 7125
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollyweird

Postby Carl Mercurio » 05/17/02 07:34 AM

Michael,
....not the Susan B. Anthony dollars but the new ones with the gold/brass coloring...
Carl Mercurio
 
Posts: 504
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: New York

Postby Michael Kamen » 05/17/02 09:46 AM

Carl,
Sounds awesome. Will check them out.

Michael
Michael Kamen
User avatar
Michael Kamen
 
Posts: 338
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: SF Bay Area

Postby Guest » 05/18/02 12:48 AM

In Australia there are only a handful of Australian coin gaffs.

1) Hopping Halves
2) Coin Bottle
3) Jumbo Coin

For first two are illegal and the third is made by special arrangement with the mint.

When i switch to the 10c coin in bottle in amazed more people. Before that people wanted to know why I was using American's coins.

The only problem I see with casino chips is

a)They don't clink (this is good for some routines but anything that uses aural senses won't work)

b) you can only really perform gambling routines with them. Coins are more commen and can be used in many places. Chips can only be used in casinos

But I still say BRING ON THE CHIPS!!!

Maybe we need a fake casino?
Guest
 

Postby Don Spurrier » 05/18/02 03:52 PM

With all of the talk about casinos, if one is near you, simply go to a 50 cent slot machine and deposit a $20 bill. Hit "Cash Out", and 40 shiny half-dollar coins will drop into the bucket. You can also do this with a $10 bill but, for some reason, you don't get as many coins.

If you try this on a $1 machine, it won't reap you silver dollars. What you will get, however, will be heavy metal $1 tokens peculiar to that casino. The ones I am familiar with are silver in color and about the size of a US silver dollar but much thicker. I don't see why these can't be machined to make most any gaffed coin you desire, except for a copper/silver. Their thickness, I think, would be perfect for shells...to hold a ceramic $1 chip, another $1 coin from another casino with a different logo, who knows?

Maybe I foresee a routine about my recent trip to Fred's Casino and Chain Saw Repair with all of the faked chips, tokens, coins, cards and dollar bills.
Don Spurrier
 
Posts: 44
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Huntsville, AL

Postby Guest » 05/18/02 10:55 PM

Presto Magic in the U.K. does, in fact, have a website and here's the address!

http://www.zyworld.com/coinpurse/Prestomain.htm

Based on their advertising, they seem to have already begun the gaffing of Euro coins.

Also, the American so-called "gold" dollar coin is called the Sacagawea (named after a famous Native American woman). It is a little larger than a quarter, but smaller than a half dollar. (The Susan B. Anthony coins are about the same size, but thet're even LESS common these days and they're actually in a hexagonal shape.)
Guest
 

Postby Dave Shepherd » 05/19/02 05:33 AM

Originally posted by Muscarella:
Also, the American so-called "gold" dollar coin is called the Sacagawea (named after a famous Native American woman). It is a little larger than a quarter, but smaller than a half dollar. (The Susan B. Anthony coins are about the same size, but thet're even LESS common these days and they're actually in a hexagonal shape.)
Slight correction: the Sacagawea dollars are EXACTLY the same size and weight as the Susan B. Anthony coins, but they look quite different.

The Susan B. coins have a hexagonal pattern embossed on the surface, but they are round coins, with milled edges. They are unfortunately very close in appearance to quarters, which is the biggest reason why they failed.

The Sackies were designed (as I understand it) to be interchangeable with Susan B.'s in vending machines. Yes, there were a very few vending machines that dealt with Susan B. Anthony dollars--in post offices.

Sackies are also now taken in newer model coin vending machines of the Coca-Cola company. Any newer Coke machine that sells 20-oz. plastic bottles for a dollar will take Sackies.

I like these coins, and I have a three-routine set that I perform whose premise is that they might eventually come into style one day.

Of course, if the U.S. Treasury quits minting them, I guess they won't.
Dave Shepherd
 
Posts: 423
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: 15 miles w. of Washington, DC

Postby Matthew Field » 05/19/02 07:38 AM

I have played around with using the Mardi Gras coins which you can get in New Orleans. They are aluminum, thin, and come in a variety of colors.
Plus, getting them is such a pleaure (New Orleans during Msrdi Gras is not to be believed). You can collect them bycatching them as they're thrown to the waiting crowds from the Krew's floats, or buy them by the bag at various stores.

Matt ("Bon Temps") Field
User avatar
Matthew Field
 
Posts: 2528
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hastings, England, UK

Postby Pete Biro » 05/19/02 09:45 AM

Don't laugh, but gold foil-covered chocolate candy coins are great. You can do all kinds of things with them, then dine if you wish.

You can get silver foil ones and make your own C/S er, G/S coins... :eek:
Stay tooned.
User avatar
Pete Biro
 
Posts: 7125
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollyweird

Postby sleightly » 05/19/02 03:42 PM

Not one to promote another magazine (hold your snide remarks ;O}), my coin flurry, " Sweet Cents " which culminates with chocolate coins was printed recently in Jim Sisti's column "Magic on the Menu" in the May issue of MAGIC.

Unfortunately due to space constrictions, they left out some crediting (including information about some of David Oliver's work, Genii columnist and a good friend) as well as some pictures, but those of you without access to MAGIC can see the unexpurgated version at:

http://absomagic.com/ajpsweetcents.html

I hope to be adding a Real Media video of the I-quit-ment move later on this week.

Pete has some great ideas about making up C/S and other gaffs, but I would highly recommend that you avoid trying to make a Hopping Half with the chocolate coins.

ajp

"They melt in your mouth, not in your hand ... Then what, may I ask, is this brown goo on my palm?"
sleightly
 
Posts: 217
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: New Hampshire

Postby Guest » 05/19/02 04:08 PM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
Don't laugh, but gold foil-covered chocolate candy coins are great. You can do all kinds of things with them, then dine if you wish.

You can get silver foil ones and make your own C/S er, G/S coins... :eek:
Shouldn't that be M/P (Milk or Plain)? :D
Guest
 

Postby Pete Biro » 05/19/02 05:44 PM

With Nuts!! :D
Stay tooned.
User avatar
Pete Biro
 
Posts: 7125
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollyweird

Postby Guest » 05/20/02 10:00 AM

Also, the American so-called "gold" dollar coin is called the Sacagawea (named after a famous Native American woman). It is a little larger than a quarter, but smaller than a half dollar. (The Susan B. Anthony coins are about the same size, but they're even LESS common these days and they're actually in a hexagonal shape.)


I've been getting both Susan B's and Sacagawea's from the US Post office stamp vending machines, which give change in dollar coins. Put in a $20, buy $6.80 worth of first class stamps, and get a handful of dollar coins.

Randy Campbell
Guest
 

Postby cataquet » 05/23/02 02:55 AM

Bob Farmer mentioned about poker chips being the wrong material (clay or plastic). However, I have managed to machine a couple so that I have a perfect shell and coin (not an expanded shell, but just a shell and an insert). I use it for coins across all the time. I thought of cutting down the other chips to match the slightly smaller one, but no one has ever commented on the presence of a slightly smaller chip.

Although the Leibnow brass poker chips with inserts have been popular with magicians, I think they scream of gimmicked props, as they are not normal chips. Poker chips or coins don't. With normal coins, I think the only gimmicks that people are "familiar" with (or suspect) are the double sided coins, and the copper-silver coin. I don't think shells or folding coins are suspected or commonly known.

If you look around, you should be able to find chips in different materials, some of which might be easily machined. Mine were made from chips that came with a home roulette wheel. They are dollar sized with no edge marks, and just say $500 on both sides. They are made of a plastic that tended to melt when you tried to machine it. I managed to turn it using a lower rpm and a small waterjet to prevent the chip from overheating... For the record, this is NOT an advert. I won't make any more of these; I am just sharing my experiences with those who might be interested.

Bye for now

Harold
cataquet
 
Posts: 261
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: England

Postby Guest » 05/23/02 03:18 AM

I've always thought the old polka chip poker would be far better is the chips had dollar amounts on them.

Turning a $1 chip to a $5 chip to a $20 dollar to $50 to a $100 to a $1000 would make for great magic!
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 05/30/02 08:08 AM

Michael

Use the presentation to justify the use of the coins. The best example I know of this is "Gadabout Coins" it's part of THE RON BAUER PRIVATE STUDIES SERIES. This trick was the best ten bucks I've ever spent.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 05/30/02 10:01 AM

The "Gadabout Coins" is also in "J.B. Bobo's Modern Coin Magic."
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 05/30/02 10:19 PM

That's where Ron got the trick as a boy, but there is no presentation in Bobo. Bauer also streamlined the handling. By getting Gadabout Coins from Bobo you're missing all the good stuff.
Guest
 

Next

Return to Close-Up Magic