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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Flavors from the past... » » Cost of magic ... then and now (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

docguitarman
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Thousand Oaks, California
326 Posts

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The subject of Vic Lawston and the House of a Thousand Mysteries came up recently. Rekindled my youthful memories and led me to buy a copy of a 1961 Lawston catalog... appears to be exactly the one I had!

So after reading it through again (nearly 60 years later!) I wondered what my set of tricks I had in my magic show would cost today!

Here, for our amusement and without further ado is the list (first, after name of the trick, is the price in 1961 found in the "House of a 1000 Mysteries" catalog followed by prices today ... found by representative google search!)
A subtitle of this post might be the "Diminishing Dollar" !

Linking Rings 2.50 20.00
Rice bowls 1.00 4.70
Chinese Egg bag 1.00 5.95
billiard balls 0.50 4.00
spirit nut 0.98 7.50
miracle floating ball 3.00 15.00
transparent vanishing silks tube ??? ???
Svengali deck 1.00 3.50
mental photography deck 2.50 8.95
haunted deck 1.50 4.60
electric deck 2.50 5.95
two card Monte 0.50 ? 2.50
three card Monte 0.50 ? 3.50
Repeat Bill mystery or
multiplying dollars 1.25 9.00
viz escape 0.50 1.95
tube and ribbon rope escape ???
chain escape 1.00 4.50
vanishing quarter in water 0.25 2.00
card through coaster
(fantastic mystery) 1.00 5.95
Thumb Tip 0.50 2.00
hooked coins 0.50 12.00
cups and balls 0.75 3.50
multiplying rabbits 0.50 3.00
penny to dime 0.50 6.95
devils box 0.50 3.50
nickels to dimes 1.00 10.00
card penetration frame 2.50 7.95
silk to egg miracle egg 1.25 3.60
Chinese sticks 1.95 10.00
two color changing silk 3.50 12.50
Jumping Gems/ jamboree jewels 1.00 3.00
Lota water vase 1.50 5.30
color vision cube box 1.00 3.00
upside down glasses 0.50 1.00
wonder blocks 0.65 4.00
enchanted block (cubio) 0.98 6.50
ball and tube 0.50 4.00
finger chopper 1.00 4.50
Chinese secret bottle 0.79 6.00
folding coin 1.00 20.00
magicians egg bag 1.95 10.00
pop bottle trick 0.35 0.75
spirit slates 0.98 9.00
shrinking cards 1.00 17.95
royal magic card box 2.00 5.00
mirror glass 1.50 10.00
circle to square 1.00 8.23
Hindoo color tags 0.50
magic vanisher (pull) 0.50 6.00
Deland automatic deck 1.50 9.95
brainwave deck 1.50 6.50
magic milk pitcher 3.50 17.95
rising wand 1.50 5.00
miracle book test 1.00
card in picture frame
multiplying coin tray 0.49 2.73
spring flowers load 1.00 est. 4.50
enchanted card 0.25 (old style flap card with metal wire spring)
Magic producto box 3.00 15.00 est.
Total $67.37 $370.41
daffydoug
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Eternal Order
Look mom! I've got
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What a trip down memory lane! *sigh*

I often pine for those long gone, golden days of yesteryear!

I remember well Lou Tannen's catalog and my first purchase as as Airman serving my country. My first taste of the wonders of the world of magic! Then there was the Mark Wilson Course In Magic...

It sure would be nice to be able to turn back the clock.
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
farmerkarl
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If you think about it in 1960 money $1.30 is a hair over 1oz fine silver so the old prices are more then the new prices. Of course the quality of the old tricks is prob way better the the stuff you can buy today.

But whatever it is daffydoug is correct nice trip down memory lane.

Thanks
meridianfan
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Quote:
On Jun 22, 2018, farmerkarl wrote:
If you think about it in 1960 money $1.30 is a hair over 1oz fine silver so the old prices are more then the new prices.



The internet prices listed are much cheaper than I think we could find in a conventional B&M shop today. It costs less to operate a website these days than a conventional shop, so some of that savings is passed onto the consumer contributing to the cheaper prices. Also true they don't make things the way they used to, and quality has likely suffered.

Great post and thanks for sharing.
docguitarman
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Thousand Oaks, California
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Quote:
On Jun 23, 2018, meridianfan wrote:
Quote:
On Jun 22, 2018, farmerkarl wrote:
If you think about it in 1960 money $1.30 is a hair over 1oz fine silver so the old prices are more then the new prices.

The internet prices listed are much cheaper than I think we could find in a conventional B and M shop today.


True. Some of beginner tricks I listed typically go for around $5.95 (or more) at a B and M.

The comparison I made was a 1960's mail order catalog (Vick Lawston) with today's web prices... should be roughly an apples to apples comparison. Of course my price checking was just a quick search also, so mileage may vary Smile
Saint-Pol
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It kills me when I purchase something for a couple hundred bucks at auction or on eBay and it arrives with the very original $2.75 sticker on it.
meridianfan
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On Jul 28, 2018, Saint-Pol wrote:
It kills me when I purchase something for a couple hundred bucks at auction or on eBay and it arrives with the very original $2.75 sticker on it.


I know how this feels. I have a few Tenyo items like this- an Ultra Tube with a $3.50 sticker on it!
Dick Oslund
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Inner circle
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Yeah! My first purchase was of a PROP, NOT A TRICK! --'CUZ YA CANNOT BUY TRICKS! --A TRICK, somewhat like MUSIC, only exists while it is being PERFORMED! (If you stop dragging the rosin soaked horse hair, over the catgut strings, the music ceases!)

My first PROP purchase from Percy Abbott, in the spring of 1945, was a Brakawa Fan. It had BRASS "ribs" and SILK RIBBON was the "cover". It was $1.75, and, Percy paid the postage!

For a buck seventy five, in those days, you could have a very nice dinner! (sirloin steak, baked potato, vegetable, salad. --and, often, a scoop of ice cream AND coffee or teal!!!

That fan, after about 20 years, finally got a new ribbon. I retired it ten years later, when I bought the last five of the Ed Miller fans,in stock, from Jay Marshall. They were lighter (fiber ribs) and as good, or better than Abbott's. I've been using one of Ed's fans, since about the mid '70s. A few years later, I began selling the rest of Ed's fans! (about #10 each!).

My fan routine always gets a half dozen LAUGHS, AND APPLAUSE at the finish, and, on two occasions, I received a STANDING OVATION, in high schools! I wrote the routine in my book.

That first $1.75 fan, lasted until I learned how to PRESENT it. I think I paid $5,00 each for the Ed Miller fans. I quadrupled my investment, when I sold the Ed Millers!

I consider that first $1.75, and the $25.00 for the Millers, an INVESTMENT, that really paid off!

Most of the TRICKS in my show came from Doc Tarbell. (The PROPS, except for a Jeff Busby made Mardo Egg Bag, $5.00, like new, at a swap meet, 3 linking rings about $20.00, a big needle, $10.00, a Pom pom stick, $10.00 -used-, a comedy balloon pump, $10.00, a Mutilated Parasol, $25,00, used, and a Disecto, $100.00, used, and, a Stan Payne bunny, that doesn't eat (!!) about $10.00. The rest of the PROPS are generic (silks. rope, cards, bucket for Misers Dream,) etc. Those simple props were my tools to make a good living with for 50 years! (I have never spent money on the "latest and greatest".)
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
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