The Joy of Slum Magic

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Roger M.
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The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby Roger M. » June 21st, 2016, 4:58 pm

On a recent order with Penguin Magic, on a bit of a lark I added the following as a last minute thing, and I've been having a blast with them far beyond their cost and standing in the magic community:

    Feel-A-Color from Royal Magic $1.69
    The Mummy by Mr. Magic $4.46
    Crazy Cube $1.88
    Magic Sword $2.24 (this one took me two days to figure out, and even now I can't see the "magic" happen)

All of the above tricks, when shown to people who don't know how they're done, can do a very credible job of mystifying.
I've been torturing my daughter with magic for 20 years, but we had a genuine laugh when I did the above four tricks for her.
Every single one of them caught her unaware ... and she's caught me out in the past on effects worth far more $$.

Can anybody share any of their under $5.00 tricks that are actually real foolers?

For $10.00 worth of cheap tricks, the fun factor is way out of proportion to my usual magic purchases!

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby Joe Mckay » June 21st, 2016, 6:11 pm

This is a fun subject.

I am a big fan of that Magic Sword effect as well. It is so cheap and nobody ever seems to talk about it. Here is a post I had about that trick.

http://forums.geniimagazine.com/viewtopic.php?t=47812&start=40#p323894

The Pallbearer's Review has some cool variations for slum magic props. Also - you will find a few effects that try and turn the Spring and Ring puzzle into a fully fledged magic routine. The Chronicles also has some new uses for the Coin Slide and that puzzle where two bent nails are hooked around each other and hard to separate.

Lastly - my favourite of all the slum magic tricks is this interesting prop that is used to vanish a dime. You can see David Copperfield perform it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqanfNI-iuU

I recently got hold of one of these Miracle Boards and they are a great magic prop. The trick is easy to do and the secret is deceptive. But at the same time it will take quite a lot of practice to truly master. So it makes for a fun prop to play around with.

Lastly - you gotta go check out the magic of Tenyo!

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erdnasephile
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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby erdnasephile » June 21st, 2016, 6:26 pm

Martin Sunshine's Color Vision ($4.95) fools people badly. Best routine I know of is in "Arcade Dreams"
Last edited by erdnasephile on June 21st, 2016, 6:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby I.M. Magician » June 21st, 2016, 6:27 pm

I love those inexpensive old classics of magic! I have admitted to that in a thread here on the Forum a while back. Those are the kinds of tricks I demonstrated a million times when I was a demonstrator back in the day. My beginnings in magic was with those tricks and many more of them such as the Imp Bottle, Wonder Blocks, Penetration Frame, Color Vision, Magic Coin Box, El Toro which was a metal much better quality version of the Magic Sword, and so many more.

Why do you called it slum magic? They are classics! I have loved those tricks for more than 50 years now! I STILL perform them all the time!

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby brianarudolph » June 21st, 2016, 6:35 pm

Classics indeed! A few weeks ago I had a small display table at our local library's "creative faire." I did a lot of such stuff and got great reactions.

As far as the magic sword goes, I suspected how it worked but was never able to see it with my own eyes - and I still cannot. The only way I could verify its operation was to take a slow motion video of it with my cell phone. But after watching that, I now marvel even more at both the illusion it creates and the mechanism that someone thought out to make it happen as well as it does.

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby performer » June 21st, 2016, 7:09 pm

You can make a living from slum magic. I did. Sometimes I have sold the stuff at the edge of a magic shop and have taken in more money than the entire shop has with just a tiny few items. In fact I still remember demonstrating in Ripley's Oddittorium in Blackpool and taking in more money than the entire museum did in admissions all day on a few of the quieter days.

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 21st, 2016, 7:24 pm

It is more properly called a "Xylo Board" and in the right hands it is indeed a miracle, but it requires great skill which puts it completely apart from the items generally under discussion here.

A box of slum magic used to be called a magic set. :)
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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby I.M. Magician » June 21st, 2016, 7:29 pm

Perhaps I should not mention how much better the quality was back then. The Color Vision block was made of wood with metal spots, the Penetration Frame was sturdy and worked the way it should, El Toro was a metal work of art, and so on...

Nowadays, they start out as junk and get even worse! No kidding! They keep finding ways to make them cheaper and of course, the quality which wasn't there in the first place suffers even more.

That being said, there are exceptions. For example, there is a Miniature Die Box out there that is terrific! In fact, I think I offered them here on the Forum a while back. It is made well, the gimmick fits the die perfectly, and it even has the sliding sound! What a treat! The one that was made back in the day wasn't nearly as deceptive as this one! By the way, there are two or three different factories making them and only one is really good.

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby performer » June 21st, 2016, 10:45 pm

I am a great believer in selling junk. I couldn't sleep at night if I thought the public were getting value for money. Besides I deem it important to protect the secrets of magic and line my pockets at the same time. If people can't do the tricks I sell then at least I know I am not exposing anything. To this end I make sure the instructions are quite incomprehensible. If people come back and ask me to teach them how to do it I merely snarl at them and say, "Read The Instructions!". This deters them from continuing the matter since they want to get away from the nasty man as soon as possible. I do find it odd however, that I have never been asked to give seminars on good customer relations.

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby Roger M. » June 22nd, 2016, 2:01 am

Great posts. On my next "serious" magic order I'll be adding a Color Cube to the end of my order.
Richard noted in a post here on the forum many years ago that "Arcade Dreams" is full of commercial material (funny, Richard's post was in a thread about the Color Cube as well).

That some of the tricks noted in this thread are such foolers is (to me) the real surprise.
The $1.69 Royal Magic Feel-A-Color is literally impossible to suss out if you don't already know the secret (although I would posit that an experienced magician left alone with the props for a few hours would probably start to figure out what might be going on).

I love Tenyo, but at $30.00+ a throw, I'm less surprised when it turns out to actually be amazing :)
While many of us sweat over our card sleights to ensure we never get busted, Tenyo feels like a breath of fresh air when I pull out Invisible Zone, Security Lock, Mystery Triangle, etc and know that getting busted isn't even remotely possible. I don't collect Tenyo, I buy the tricks if they really fool me ... and when Tenyo fools, it really fools.

I did the Mummy trick at work today, and had everybody I showed it to completely confounded as to what was going on (after showing one co-worker the trick 4 times and him wanting a 5th, I finally had to kick him out of my office)... mind you, the Mummy was $4.49, so up into the really expensive stuff you start to expect excellent results ;)

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby I.M. Magician » June 22nd, 2016, 7:32 am

How about Perky Penny, Shrinking Die, and Nickels to Dimes? All foolers and still being made. SS Adams had a plastic version of Nickels to Dimes which was horrible!

Then there is the old Roydon stuff. Remember those?

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby brianarudolph » June 22nd, 2016, 8:47 am

Another one that will always have a special place in my heart is the Spiked Coin. When I got my first magic set at six years of age, there was a picture of the Spiked Coin on the box along with a few words saying something like "shove spikes through a half dollar!" or some such. So without reading any instructions, I put a half dollar in the box, closed it and inserted my first spike. It went all the way through! Figuring that I had simply missed the coin (I had pushed a spike through a hole at an outside edge), I proceeded to push all the other spikes through. I couldn't believe it! I took the spikes out and uncovered the box ... and there was the coin just as I had put it in the box. I thought that if this was any indication of what else was in my magic set, I was being being given some serious magic powers!

But then I stumbled onto this thing that consisted of a piece of black elastic with a safety pin at one end and a black plastic egg with a hole in one end at the other. The book said it was a "handkerchief vanish." I shoved a handkerchief into it. Nothing happened. I tried stretching the elastic. Nothing happened. I twirled it around a few times. The handkerchief was still in the egg. I told my dad about it. He said (amusing himself unbeknownst to me) that we might have to return the magic set since it seemed to be defective. Later that night, dad told me that he didn't know what that funny thing was or why they'd put it in my magic set. Then he said "... because if you really wanted to make a handkerchief disappear, you'd just stuff it in your hand like this ... and then clap your hands together like this!" and the handkerchief disappeared. I was floored! And he did it without that weird black egg thing! I figured dad had been holding out on me all these years - he was a magician! It was only after he showed me that he was in fact using the weird black egg thing secretly that I began to understand that magic wasn't real. That was the biggest disappointment of my six year-old life. But dad then made me remember how amazed I felt when I *thought* I saw "real magic." And that was the beginning a life-long interest.

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby Jonathan Townsend » June 22nd, 2016, 9:30 am

Roger M. wrote:... impossible to suss out if you don't already know the secret (although I would posit that an experienced magician left alone with the props for a few hours would probably start to figure out what might be going on)....


Shown by a non-magician twelve year old other brother of a friend long ago... obvious by contrived procedure and geometry (form follows function) but maybe there's been some change in spacial reasoning in the last generation - emoji over diagrams?

Of course the molded plastic prop that just fits the other molded plastic prop must be completely inert, innocent of technology and without contrivance of design... which is why they are kept together as if they came in the same package ... purely coincidence... one would never expect the complex radio (now wifi) based system that informs the magician to make the seemingly impossible detection of color... wow, not even a fingernail to scrape a dab of wax... amazing.

anyone playing up a thimble-like device they use to "sense" the color? maybe put an LED In the the thing as if it did something :)
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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby I.M. Magician » June 22nd, 2016, 9:31 am

It seems that so many began with a magic set. I never had a magic set. It was always individual tricks. Perhaps it's because my interest in magic wasn't sparked by my parents giving me a magic set as a gift. They did buy me a Magic Coin Slide when I was around five or six years old. I carried that thing around for a very long time. It was around two years later at the age of eight that magic infiltrated my life and stayed there until this day.

A boy in the neighborhood would visit two shops in center city Philly on Saturdays and return home with a pocketful of tricks. If I remember correctly, most of them were old Adams? He would do them for us boys in the neighborhood. We would all watch and I was the only one who's life it changed. The other boys didn't seem to care that much but I loved those tricks! One time, I went home and told my mom that I wanted to go with him to the shops and get my own tricks. She said okay and that began my delightful life long journey in this wonderful art. The boy who started it all lost interest rather quickly.

Snapper, Phantom Cards, and Siberian Chain Escape were among the very first tricks I bought.

Perhaps what Tarbell said about magicians being born that way and not created (or something to that effect) is true.

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby Roger M. » June 22nd, 2016, 9:59 am

Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Roger M. wrote:... impossible to suss out if you don't already know the secret (although I would posit that an experienced magician left alone with the props for a few hours would probably start to figure out what might be going on)....


Shown by a non-magician twelve year old other brother of a friend long ago... obvious by contrived procedure and geometry (form follows function) but maybe there's been some change in spacial reasoning in the last generation - emoji over diagrams?

Of course the molded plastic prop that just fits the other molded plastic prop must be completely inert, innocent of technology and without contrivance of design... which is why they are kept together as if they came in the same package ... purely coincidence... one would never expect the complex radio (now wifi) based system that informs the magician to make the seemingly impossible detection of color... wow, not even a fingernail to scrape a dab of wax... amazing.

anyone playing up a thimble-like device they use to "sense" the color? maybe put an LED In the the thing as if it did something :)


Jon, don't forget we're talking about $2.00 tricks here, so there's no real need to analyze anything beyond how much fun you've had with it.

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby erdnasephile » June 22nd, 2016, 10:38 am

brianarudolph wrote:Another one that will always have a special place in my heart is the Spiked Coin. When I got my first magic set at six years of age, there was a picture of the Spiked Coin on the box along with a few words saying something like "shove spikes through a half dollar!" or some such. So without reading any instructions, I put a half dollar in the box, closed it and inserted my first spike. It went all the way through! Figuring that I had simply missed the coin (I had pushed a spike through a hole at an outside edge), I proceeded to push all the other spikes through. I couldn't believe it! I took the spikes out and uncovered the box ... and there was the coin just as I had put it in the box. I thought that if this was any indication of what else was in my magic set, I was being being given some serious magic powers!


Thanks for that Brian---that brought back some great memories--loved that trick!

I love tricks which with can fool yourself. Are there any others in this price range?

PS: At my dentist's office, they have one of those little toy chests for peds patients to select a trinket from. Lo and behold, I spotted a set of three plastic shells and a pea. The kicker was that the pea was made of hard plastic, so there's no way the poor kid could ever follow the secret directions to make the trick work. Talk about evil!!!

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby Joe Mckay » June 22nd, 2016, 11:53 am

I only discovered the principle behind the Feel A Color trick a few years ago. It is one of the cleverest principles in mentalism.

I call it the soft/hard corner principle.

Mark Lewis sold me (well my Mum) my first ever magic trick - The Svengali Deck.

I thought that deck was real magic. I could see every other card was the same but I didn't notice the long/short principle. So had no idea why the deck changed every time I riffled it in a different direction.

I also think the Spiked Coin is a great little trick as well. That was the first trick I ever bought at a magic shop and I was very impressed with the trick. And the method involved. Very clever.

Often in magic we don't give the respect that is deserved to these sorts of tricks. The finger chopper is a great little trick as well. There is a nice use for it in The Pallbearer's Review.

Shout out to Scotch & Soda as well. Another great little trick.

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 22nd, 2016, 12:10 pm

I don't think Scotch and Soda would be considered slum magic because of the price.
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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby I.M. Magician » June 22nd, 2016, 12:36 pm

Feel a Color is a great one which I bought when I was a kid.

How about the Hindoo Color Tags? Another great one with a different but very clever principal. A vintage item not made any more.

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby Roger M. » June 22nd, 2016, 1:19 pm

I.M. Magician wrote:
How about the Hindoo Color Tags? Another great one with a different but very clever principal. A vintage item not made any more.


Now I've got more research to do, and further a hunt to find something likely impossible to find :lol:

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby I.M. Magician » June 22nd, 2016, 1:24 pm

If you are speaking of trying to find a Hindoo Color Tags, look no further! I may have an extra! :o

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby erdnasephile » June 22nd, 2016, 2:16 pm

I.M. Magician wrote:How about the Hindoo Color Tags? Another great one with a different but very clever principal. A vintage item not made any more.


Is that the one with the hole reinforcers?

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby I.M. Magician » June 22nd, 2016, 2:23 pm

Indeed it is!

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby Max Maven » June 22nd, 2016, 6:29 pm

The soft/hard corner idea is properly known as the Tan/Fillman Principle.

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby Leonard Hevia » June 22nd, 2016, 7:29 pm

I still have my clear plastic Hot Rod purchased at 12 or 13 years of age. The gems on the opposite side are blue. I remember getting badly fooled by the demo at the shop and my first lesson on the paddle move and forcing.

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby Roger M. » June 22nd, 2016, 9:52 pm

Max Maven wrote:The soft/hard corner idea is properly known as the Tan/Fillman Principle.


Thank-You for that Max, I didn't know, and couldn't find a name to associate with the gaff.

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 22nd, 2016, 10:57 pm

It's in Tenyoism (courtesy of Max).
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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby Brad Jeffers » June 23rd, 2016, 12:53 am

erdnasephile wrote:I love tricks which with can fool yourself. Are there any others in this price range?

Another $2 trick that you can fool yourself with is the Buddha Papers Mystery. The first time I did this for myself, I placed a coin in the papers, folded them up, unfolded them, and the coin had vanished!

It was quite startling.

It made me laugh.

In fact, if you use the Buddha Papers, I would suggest that instead of doing the vanish or transformation yourself, try having a spectator do the folding and unfolding (following your directions).

It's ten times stronger that way.

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby Roger M. » June 23rd, 2016, 1:23 am

I've not seen that one before Brad, looks like a genuine fooler, and goes on my next order!

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby Joe Mckay » June 23rd, 2016, 4:29 am

There is an old trick taught in Ed Marlo's Arcade Dreams (written by Jon Racherbaumer) which I have never seen for sale.

I don't have the book in front of me - but it sort of combined the Buddha Papers with the Princess Card Trick principle. Such that a card thought of would disappear and then reappear in the middle of the unfolded papers.

Something like that. I just looked it up on google - the trick is called The Magic Frame. Definitely deserves a revival.

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby Brad Henderson » June 23rd, 2016, 7:30 am

I have one of these. actually has a small piece of glass as the window if I recall correctly.

the item I want to find is an adam's. squirting swan. if anyone has one, I'm interested!

in case you didn't know there are two fairly recent (last ten years) books on the adams company and their items. you will likely see lots of things you never knew existed.

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby Tom Gilbert » June 23rd, 2016, 8:07 am

In my youth we had a local TV magician who did just a few basics. But they ran contests and he'd always give away the same trick. He put a sheet of plastic into a longer manilla envelop and too one of those brass fasteners with the two folding legs and large nail like head into the center of the envelope thought the hole in the center of the plastic sheet. Then he would pull the plastic sheet out. Try as I might I never won one. I do think I saw them in some of my earlier catalogs, but couldn't bring myself to buy one, because I should have won it. The reasoning of a 7 year old.

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby performer » June 23rd, 2016, 8:24 am

Brad Jeffers wrote:
erdnasephile wrote:I love tricks which with can fool yourself. Are there any others in this price range?

Another $2 trick that you can fool yourself with is the Buddha Papers Mystery. The first time I did this for myself, I placed a coin in the papers, folded them up, unfolded them, and the coin had vanished!

It was quite startling.

It made me laugh.

In fact, if you use the Buddha Papers, I would suggest that instead of doing the vanish or transformation yourself, try having a spectator do the folding and unfolding (following your directions).

It's ten times stronger that way.


Mickey McDougall used to make a living with the Buddha Papers. He did the svengali deck too. He even used the Buddha Papers in his night club act! He had one on every table and got the audience to amaze itself!

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby I.M. Magician » June 23rd, 2016, 8:30 am

How about the Chinese Ring Illusion? That one belongs in this category.

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby I.M. Magician » June 23rd, 2016, 9:02 am

This thread has inspired me to put a package deal together which will include several of the items mentioned here. Out of respect to the rules of the Genii Forum, I will begin a new listing here on the Forum offering the package.

Please feel free to PM me or list here the items you would like to see in the package. So far, I have five possibilities.

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby Joe Mckay » June 23rd, 2016, 9:44 am

I really like the Tumbling Rings trick.

It is a clever optical illusion that also doubles as a magic trick.

Does anyone know where you can buy one these days? I have always being meaning to buy one but never see them for sale online.

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby I.M. Magician » June 23rd, 2016, 9:47 am

I don't think they make the Tumbling Rings anymore. Your best bet is to find a used one.

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby Joe Mckay » June 23rd, 2016, 9:56 am

Two books covering the history of the SS Adams company were mentioned earlier.

I found one of them:

https://www.amazon.com/Life-Party-Visual-History-Company/dp/B001KKV1CA

I wonder what the other book was. Perhaps the poster had this one in mind?

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/160887026X

Also - if anyone has a Tumbling Rings trick for sale - please PM me.

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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby Joe Mckay » June 23rd, 2016, 10:08 am


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Re: The Joy of Slum Magic

Postby I.M. Magician » June 23rd, 2016, 10:25 am

Life of the Party is a coffee table book with lots of colorful photos of old SS Adams products. A real treat! The other book is a biography of Samuel Adams, the founder of the company.

Both books are worth getting.


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