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Topic: Cig Thru Quarter Question
Message: Posted by: WesRay (Feb 16, 2005 02:43PM)
I have an old-style (non-examinable) Johnson's Cigarette Through Quarter and haven't performed it in a few years. I got it out the other day, and something kind of bothered me about performing the trick these days...

What if the borrowed quarter ends up being one of the recent "state" quarters, without the eagle on the back? Have any of you encountered this problem? If so, how did you handle it?

I did come up with a bit of patter, but haven't tested it out just yet. First, ask the spectators specifically for an eagle quarter. May seem a bit bold, but if they ask why it has to be one of the older quarters, mention something like "Well, the government found out what us magicians like to do when given a cigarette and a quarter." Then, do the routine. "We proved the metal they were using to be far too weak." Then, after you give it back, say something to the effect of "The newer coins have been made a little differently to prevent mis-use." Might be a bit hokey, and would probably make for a more comedic approach to Cigarette Thru Quarter, but it's the only solution I've come up with in regards to this problem. You then might want to do a comparison by asking for a state quarter, in which you attempt to do the same thing, but instead smash the cigarette (though, that could possibly upset the borrowee ;))

Any thoughts? Anyone encounter this problem when performing this effect?
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Feb 16, 2005 02:49PM)
A guy named Jason has a cute handling for this ;)

He's on the Café.
Message: Posted by: Derek Dean (Feb 16, 2005 02:54PM)
One possibility, use your own quarter, which is initialled by you on the eagle side ( your Johnson gaff is also initialled by you on the appropriate side ), then have the spectator initial the quarter on the other side and give it back to you. That way they have examined it and have seen your signature and can see your signiture on the coin while it is being penetrated.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Feb 16, 2005 03:38PM)
Trouble is, the face is visibly different as well. Yes, it's the same George Washington, but there are enough differences that it's obvious that it's a "state" quarter.
Message: Posted by: Grimm (Feb 16, 2005 04:39PM)
I've been wondering about the same thing with the bite coin I have, which is made in the old style of quarter. I suppose it's a good way to get you thinking on your feet if it does happen. I think perhaps using your own quarter, which they examine and then doing a quick switch is the most fool proof method.
Message: Posted by: Larry Davidson (Feb 16, 2005 05:08PM)
Here's what I do.

I ask if anyone has a pocketful of change. If someone takes out a handful, it doesn't matter if he has a "regular" quarter. I immediately reach into the pile and pick up a coin as I simultaneously secretly add a regular quarter to the pile.

I look at the coin I picked up, let's say it's a dime, and then I look at the coins in the person's hand and say I'll use a quarter instead. I simply place the dime back into the spectator's hand, and pick up the regular quarter I secretly placed there.

If nobody has a pocketful of change, I do something else.

This solution will cost you a quarter per performance.

Larry D.
Message: Posted by: Dan LeFay (Feb 16, 2005 05:13PM)
I think that's a gutsy idea Larry. I admire the audience control one has to have to get away with that. Good thinking.
Message: Posted by: Larry Davidson (Feb 16, 2005 05:17PM)
Thanks Dan, but it's actually very easy to do if you just move the coins around in the person's hand as you're "searching" for a coin.
Message: Posted by: irishguy (Feb 16, 2005 05:20PM)
I think perhaps using your own quarter, which they examine and then doing a quick switch is the most fool proof method.

It is the only method that I have found. It is highly unlikely that someone will hand you a matching quarter from their own pocket.

Now that the nickels are changing, we are getting nailed on those too.
Message: Posted by: GeorgeSantos (Feb 16, 2005 10:44PM)
I think Rocco has an impromptu version on one of the BEST OF THE BEST IMS tapes.. I'm not sure..
Message: Posted by: DVA (Feb 16, 2005 11:12PM)
Ok here is the skinny on the handling of the cig thru quarter dilema.

I originally used silver leaf paint on an old style quarter recently I have begun to glue a piece of aluminum foil to the coin with 3m restickable adhesive. The reason I changed is the gimmicks are much quicker to make. Finger palm this gimmick in the left hand. I don't use a cig for the routine, I use a Bic pen I keep it in my right trouser pocket. This is important because it has a cap. Ask for the loan of a quarter, if you get a new one the script is

[b]Ahh a new quarter...you know that these really aren't new right? Well actually the first few thousand were but after that they realized they could save money by just plating the old ones with a bit of nickel and voila'! New Quarters! The trouble is they used a very cheap source for the plating process and sometimes it comes right off. Look...[/b]

Suiting actions to words display the borrowed quarter and do a simple spellbound or shuttle pass while you talk [i]I prefer the shuttle pass.[/i] This should be done BEFORE you get to the last word which is "Look" too much atention is drawn to the hand when you use that word... Keep the faces of the quarter shielded but don't be too obvious about it [i]obviously[/i]. Reach into the right pocket to get the pen and at the same time ditch the coin. Remove the pen cap and use it to scratch off the aluminum in small chunks. Let it fall to the table, the adhesive should scratch off as well leaving you clean. Toss the quarter to the table.

Unlike Larry's solution you have a one for one trade. I prefer even money to losing money. No offense Larry.

There you have it. Of course this is only an opening gambit for my routine which will be available shortly on DVD [i]along with ten other effects[/i] and it is also in my lecture notes [i]pm me for details about them[/i]
Message: Posted by: wespetty (Feb 17, 2005 01:53AM)
Once again, I will reiterate what I feel is the most practical solution in my eyes. Please read my thoughts regarding coins/bills matching for routines here:


I do feel like DVA's solution, incorporating an additional [i]effect[/i] is a fairly good one (from a logical point of view), but not from a practical point of view (ease of reset).

Larry's solution is also a good "dodge", but as noted, costs you a quarter for each performance (not to mention if they [i]don't[/i] have a [i]pocket full[/i] of change for you to poke through... or worse, they [i]do[/i] yet none of them are quarters to begin with). I think rummaging through all of their change (just so you could borrow a quarter?) is, procedurally, an awkward thing (and assuming that you are performing in any situation [i]other than[/i] a very informal one, the procedure interupts the "flow" of a performance). It simply lacks [i]directness[/i].

If a performer wants a spectator to think of one card, the direct method would be to ask the person to merely think of one card out of 52. Done deal.
[i]Directness[/i] (and therefore clarity of effect) is somewhat compromised with procedures such as "Ok, do you like red cards or black cards... clubs or spades... odds or evens..." etc, etc. until [i]finally[/i] the spectator is "freely???" thinking of just one card?. This is, of course, a gross example of indirectness, but I use it to illustrate the point. Of course, there are varying degrees of "directness", and it is worth remembering that this is the [i]very element[/i] that makes certain methods/versions of any given effect (out of 1000's) better or "cleaner" as we magicians love to say.

If one needs a quarter, one should simply ask for the loan of one. It should be that simple. I have to say that it's my opinion that using your own quarter, or even worse, specifically mentioning that you need to borrow an "old quarter" before the effect, will [b]dramatically[/b] decrease the impact of the effect (if not tip the true method altogether!).
However, opinions may (and invariably will) vary.

Try to keep in mind the [i]clarity of effect[/i] as well as how [i]direct[/i] any effect appears to an audience. Food for thought.

Cheers, Wes
Message: Posted by: DVA (Feb 17, 2005 09:45AM)
Points well taken Wes and I agree with you. It seems to me we approached the problem from different sides and I feel your solution is the same that I came up with. [b]Be prepared to do a different effect.[/b] The only difference is the other effect I do allows me to continue on and do the effect I originally wanted to do. I don't do the effect at every table I work. I carry ten quarters that fit inside a modified watch pocket (so they don't talk). If I feel like performing the effect it is easy enough to get ready. I generally don't work impromptu so I am carrying everything I need.

As for ease of reset remember this is only an opening gambit for my full routine. They get the back the quarter they "loaned" me and everything is ready to go again. If they have an old quarter I don't bother with this and go straight to the routine.

There is virtually no reset other than placing the objects back into my pockets at the conclusion. At the end of the night I swap out my newly acquired quarters for some old ones from the bartenders. It is sort of a nightly ritual. It takes me about all of ten minutes to make up all the coins I'll use in a week.

Just thought I would clarify a few points.
Thanks for reading
Message: Posted by: WesRay (Feb 17, 2005 10:07AM)
Some very good ideas in this thread. I'm still not sure what is the best method, but it definitely makes for some food for thought.

There has to be a fool-proof method somehow. We can't let this great effect go the way of the dinosaurs. :)

I've never used the "examinable" type of cig thru quarter. I'm assuming their handling would also be effected by the new state quarters, even if you only presented it in the same manner as the non-examinable one (showing only the "heads" side").

Would using an old half dollar model be a solution, since it's already an older coin? Or would that be even more apt to tip them off that something isn't right?
Message: Posted by: Larry Davidson (Feb 17, 2005 11:03AM)
Just FYI, I don't perform informally and I don't perceive my approach as being indirect or as interrupting the flow of my close-up performance. I didn't share all of the patter and audience direction I use but I'll tell you that there's a logical reason that I ask for a handful of change vs. just one coin, and if the handful doesn't include a quarter it doesn't matter because I don't give the spectator the opportunity to focus on what's in her hand before I move the coins around. What works for me, though, may not work for every magician and vice versa.

Re. losing 25 cents, sure I'd rather not, but in the scheme of things, it doesn't really matter to me because I make more than enough when performing to not worry about losing a few dollars by doing the effect multiple times a night.

Larry D.

P.S. - The object through quarter routine I perform most often uses my own quarter versus a borrowed one and there's an outwardly logical reason for using my coin. It's the strongest object through quarter routine I've been able to develop and I've tried a bunch of them over the years. I mention this only to spark others to think about different ways of approaching a problem. Instead of thinking about switching coins when you borrow a coin that doesn't match your gimmick, think about why it might make sense to use your own quarter or other approaches where you don't have to switch. And if you think that using borrowed money allows for stronger magic, think about what you might do to overcome that when using your own coin (I did and it works for me). Not trying to be evasive, just suggesting that people find solutions that work for them.
Message: Posted by: paulajayne (Feb 17, 2005 11:11AM)
If the worry is about returning the quarter then just keep it - make a big thing of it in that it cost a quarter to see that effect.

Most will find it funny that you are keeping the quarter that they think is theirs and for the ones that do not - well just give them a quarter.

Message: Posted by: Corey Harris (Feb 17, 2005 11:44AM)
I preform this effect with a half dollar. I just end up handing out the real half for them to examine it, then go about my routine. Some on on here had a solution for marking the half as well with paper reinforcements. You might want to do a search. It should come up with quite a bit of stuff for you.
Message: Posted by: richgerb86 (Feb 18, 2005 01:46PM)
I have never really had the problem of a state quarter. People go nuts over collecting them. Most people do not want to hand them out. I am amazed at how many people collect those things, as if they are going to be worth a lot of money someday. If I am handed a state quater, I ask for an older one, I would not want to take the chane of ruining something "that might be woth a lot of money someday".
Message: Posted by: Paul Chosse (Feb 18, 2005 07:32PM)
On 2005-02-16 18:08, Larry Davidson wrote:
Here's what I do.

I ask if anyone has a pocketful of change. If someone takes out a handful, it doesn't matter if he has a "regular" quarter. I immediately reach into the pile and pick up a coin as I simultaneously secretly add a regular quarter to the pile.

I look at the coin I picked up, let's say it's a dime, and then I look at the coins in the person's hand and say I'll use a quarter instead. I simply place the dime back into the spectator's hand, and pick up the regular quarter I secretly placed there.

If nobody has a pocketful of change, I do something else.

This solution will cost you a quarter per performance.

Larry D.

Don Alan did a similar thing. He asked if someone had any change. When the guy brought out a handful Don just pretended to pick up a quarter, actually revealing the gaff he had in his hand all the time. Did the trick, and switched at the end to return the quarter. It cost him 25 cents everytime too, Larry...

Best, PSC
Message: Posted by: tabman (Feb 19, 2005 08:58PM)
When I was on the road I traveled in a troupe and one of my mates kept my spare cig thru coin in his pocket all the time. I would [i]borrow[/i] the quarter from him. I quit smoking and stopped doing it but I always held my finger under the gimmick to keep it closed and [i]packed[/i] the cig on the quarter before doing my routine which [i]proved[/i] the quarter was solid. At the end of the routine I would just hand Mike the [i]quarter[/i] back and light the cig I had just used for the effect then vanish the cig after a few drags. Like I said, I quit smoking and stopped doing it but its a great trick.

Message: Posted by: mike gallo (Feb 20, 2005 12:32AM)
Like I said, I quit smoking and stopped doing it but its a great trick.

Tabman, don't let a little thing like quitting smoking stop you from doing the effect. Michael Rubinstein has a great method for non-smokers in his COIN-vention notes! I'm a smoker and I switched over to his routine...it's that good!!!

Message: Posted by: Larry Davidson (Feb 20, 2005 08:30AM)
Paul, thanks for the info about Don Alan.

For those adverse to using cigarettes, you can use other objects as Mike mentions, for example a crayon, a pencil, a rolled up bill, a feather...
Message: Posted by: Dan LeFay (Feb 20, 2005 09:00AM)
Joshua Jay uses a small brush. It looks soooo magical!!!
Message: Posted by: Benji Bruce (Aug 14, 2005 05:40PM)
Well lucky for me I have a biting quarter that is the newe style and an old quarter for the cig thru coin...usually I perform the pen thru quarter but if they give me a new quarter I will say "perfect I don't even need the pen" I just put the pen and coin away then I steal the biting coin and perform that effect...i don't specify which quarter I just ask for one and they are deciding which effect they will see:)
Message: Posted by: magicbob116 (Oct 14, 2005 02:07PM)
My bitten quarter is a state quarter (New York). Since you don't have to show the reverse for that effect, it's not a problem regardless of which state someone hands you. Of course, the opposite problem can occur. There are still millions of "old-style" quarters in circulation. I guess you just have to be flexible. If you get a quarter that's a different style than your gaff, you could always just bend it instead!
Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Oct 14, 2005 06:45PM)
You might want to check out my Marked Bill Through Quarter effect, published in the June (I think) issue of Genii. It solves a lot of problems.
Message: Posted by: elmago (Oct 16, 2005 03:37AM)
I also use a half dollar and let them examine before and after. The half dollar is just easier for the audience to see. Especially big crowds. I also carry the gimmicked quarter just in case they pull out their own. Best case scenario is when they give me a quarter and a pen after doing it once with the half dollar.

In the case that I am handed a state quater, I do something bold. I back up to get distance and to blur clarity. Then I just do it with some motion. I don't hold it still so they never realize there is an eagle instead of a state picture. In the few times that I've had to do this I've never been called out on it. The quater really is small.

Miguel Rangel
Message: Posted by: phedonbilek (Oct 16, 2005 09:05AM)
I think that once they saw the cigarette going through the coin they forget looking for eagles, state pictures... You could have a coin with aunt Jemima on it and they would still look at the point the cigarette pierces the coin :dizzy: !

Seriously now, I think that in the case you're given a coin noticeably different from yours you might want to take some distance explaining that the illusion works better that way. From a bit of a distance they can't notice the difference. On top of that they do concentrate on the fact a cigarette runs through a coin, they don't pay close attention to the coin itself. One might argue that this distance lessens the effect. Maybe. But I feel more secure doing this than rubbing a completely different coin under their nose.

Message: Posted by: Jaxon (Oct 16, 2005 01:30PM)
On 2005-02-16 15:49, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
A guy named Jason has a cute handling for this ;)

He's on the Café.

I think you might mean me instead of Jason. If so here's the link to that discussion.


It doesn't help solve this problem because part of the coin is covered. It also helps take the heat off the quarter and the switch.

Ron Jaxon
Message: Posted by: JTW (Oct 16, 2005 10:04PM)
Nope I'm sure he meant me jaxon. See my "Who wants to be the Firebug" routine on my DVD called 'Tied'.
Message: Posted by: Alex Linian (Oct 16, 2005 10:36PM)
For an INVISIBLE switch of the coins Check out Garrett Thomas's "Any Questions" video. This will also be in his "Mind of Garrett Thomas" DVD's from L&L.