(Close Window)
Topic: Expanded Shells vs Unexpanded Shells
Message: Posted by: rmofsky (Sep 9, 2005 09:38AM)
Does anybody out there have any practical advice about differences between Expanded Shells vs, those that are Unexpanded.

What I've learned is that unexpanded shells have no distortion on the face of the coin, and can be nicely milled on the sides to match the ungaffed coins.

Are they basically an alternative to expanded shell sets?

Does anybody have any preferences?

Thanks for any advice.

Message: Posted by: Charlie Justice (Sep 9, 2005 09:43AM)
Message: Posted by: Mike Wild (Sep 9, 2005 09:44PM)
There's a long and interesting history here, worth looking into as time permits, but to answer your question a bit more directly...

Shell coins have come a looong way since they were first invented... sometime in the 1600's if I'm not mistaken. The distortion on a modern e] (are we still using shorthand for this?) is minimal, and not noticable to spectators IMO. The e] allows you to cover a coin of the same denomination and/or size, where an unexpanded ] requires coins that are smaller that the ] coin (either a smaller coin of a different denomination, or a coin of the same denomination which has been milled down to fit under the ].

Each ] type has its strengths and weaknesses. It's a personal preference as to which, if any, is better. Johnson's "Ultimate Copper and Silver" is an example of a gaff set that utilizes an unexpanded ]. It's a great gaff for those who like Scoth & Soda type effects, but want to take it to the "next level", for lack of a better (albeit over-used) industry term.

I prefer to use a well-made expanded ], or set of ]'s, and a number of ungaffed coins, but again, it's a personal preference based upon the effects that I perform, and what has proven to work better for me. This is not to say that my Johnson Ult. C/S set sits in a box somewhere, it doesn't. I use it as regularly as I use my e] sets. Diversity is always a good thing.

Nesting a milled coin into an unexpanded ], and then nesting both into an e] has been a topic of some fairly recent threads, and an interesting concept in general ;)

All the best,

Message: Posted by: Daegs (Sep 10, 2005 12:06AM)
Basically, expanded shells came around during the time when half dollars and silver dollars were in circulation and in people pocket's.

A coin magician of that era would actually borrow 4 half dollars and perform with them, adding in the shell of course.

These days, unless you are borrowing coins you should be getting an unexpanded set.

The only advantages these days that I see are:

1. They are cheaper beacuse they are sold alone
2. You supply the matching 4 coins
3. You can fit in on any half dollars you have.

The downsides are many:
1. face is stretched and the coin is thinner due to being expanded
2. Every half dollar is not actually perfectly round, nor are they the same size, so any expanded shell you get wont fit your coins perfectly and must be made overly big in order to accomodate those un-round and larger coin around. With an unexpanded, the shell is made and THEN coins are put on a lathe and cut down, so not only are they perfectly round, but they are the perfect size for that shell.

Anyway, these days go with a milled down set, they are much better to work with than an expanded one.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Sep 10, 2005 12:14AM)
I could not tell you anything about "should".

Some folks are now making gaffs that nest three and four deep. Clever folks.

Given the reality of todays coinage you do have some intersting choices to make.

One approach involves finding the routines you like and the presentation you wish to use and let that suggest the appropriate props for the magic.
Message: Posted by: Kjellstrom (Nov 27, 2005 09:38AM)
Can anyone recommend a great DVD(s) with coin magic using shells?
Message: Posted by: Mediocre the Great (Nov 27, 2005 11:38AM)
On 2005-11-27 10:38, Kjellstrom wrote:
Can anyone recommend a great DVD(s) with coin magic using shells?

Extreme Dean 1&2
David Roth's Expert Coin Magic Series

These and Bobo's Modern Coin Magic Book will keep you busy for a long time!
Message: Posted by: Backdoor (Nov 27, 2005 11:40AM)
Mike, you broke that down well... I don't use ]'s much as I have never been able to get them to work without the noise they make. I have a Hopping Half set (unexpanded, I think) and it is somewhere lying around. I'm sure if I practice it, I'd use them better but I don't know, I just don't like the use of the ]'s...Anyway, is the Slippery Sam and the Sun & Moon a sort of ] gimmick too? Oh, and besides the high price stuff from the craftsman, what can a guy on a budget look for in good-enough ] making at reasonable prices? I'm thinking a good hitter with a cheap bat can make a cheap bat look pretty good sometimes.
Message: Posted by: Kjellstrom (Nov 27, 2005 11:44AM)
TIP: Affordable Expanded Shells:
Message: Posted by: Magical Dimensions (Nov 27, 2005 01:16PM)
I am looking for magnetic shells. Is there such a thing?

Message: Posted by: Aaron Moring (Nov 27, 2005 10:36PM)
Ray, there is a ferrous (shimmed) shell, Mint Condition, that you can find occasionally. Or you could get some shimming and shim your own. As for magnetic, I don't think I've ever heard of one. Doesn't mean they don't exist, though... I am not sure if space would allow for it.
Message: Posted by: truthteller (Nov 27, 2005 10:57PM)
In the interest of Historical accuracy, the expanded shell is considered an invention of Connie Haden and was first released in 1960.
Message: Posted by: DomKabala (Nov 28, 2005 01:33PM)
On 2005-11-27 23:57, truthteller wrote:
In the interest of Historical accuracy, the expanded shell is considered an invention of Connie Haden and was first released in 1960.
[/quote] You are correct... http://daytonamagic.net/customer/index.cfm?action=detail&ProductId=2389 I met Connie years ago here in Daytona Bch.

Message: Posted by: info2victor (Dec 3, 2005 08:45AM)
While one might find an unexpanded [ less distorted, one might eventually prefer expanded ones. I'm one example. I have a set of unexpanded [ with a matching half. They look quit alike and the size of the [ is exaclty as a half dollar.

But sooner or later you'll notice it is not enough since you can only continue to nest and un-nest the same coin, which simply cannot be done smoothly for some routines. If you think you can buy 4 sets and use all those "smaller" halves, think again. It is not worthy to do so. And the thing is the coin "insert" is actally smaller than the shell, so the size difference problem remains.

I'd strongly suggest an e[ if you want to use your [ for a couple of routines. It's not that obvious if you buy a shell from a good producer, or even better if you have it custom made by some craftsmen. I recently saw a barber e[ and I can't tell the difference with normal barbers. Remember you are not asking the audience to examine the coins and ask "do you notice there is a small size difference?"
Message: Posted by: CoinMan21 (Dec 3, 2005 08:57AM)
If you have seen Dean's Set, you will change your opinion on unexpanded [
Message: Posted by: info2victor (Dec 3, 2005 09:01AM)
O thanks. this set is news to me. will take a look at it later on.

but for now... my vote is still on e[ because of it's versatility.
Message: Posted by: Larry Davidson (Dec 3, 2005 09:31AM)
As CoinMan21 points out, there are unexpanded ]s on the market that come with multiple/dentical "insert" coins. Dean's set is great.
Message: Posted by: Larry Davidson (Dec 3, 2005 10:12AM)
I meant "identical," not "dentical" (whatever that is, maybe a coin that you bite? :baby:)
Message: Posted by: magic1178 (Jan 1, 2011 04:41PM)
Howdy,I have a Kuepper's Expanded Toonie Shell,which is not bad,but ever since a spectator pointed out that one coin looks bigger,I always see the expanded as apparantly larger.

Now with the coins always slightly in motion will help this weak point, I was wondering are the unexpanded more deceptive as in relation to the size discreptancy?
Message: Posted by: John Long (Jan 1, 2011 07:49PM)
That may be an artifact of the Toonies two-metal design, that makes it more obvious. I don't notice a difference with expanded half shells
Message: Posted by: Chessmann (Jan 1, 2011 08:18PM)
On 2005-12-03 09:57, CoinMan21 wrote:
If you have seen Dean's Set, you will change your opinion on unexpanded [

Not necessarily. I have owned both, and gravitated to expanded. The reasons given in favor of un-ex['s appeal mainly to the user. In competent hands, spectators will never know the difference, and expanded shells are significantly less expensive. True, the fit is custom made on an unexpanded set, but again, in competent hands this means nothing very little. I know many who have easily found 'perfect fit' ungaffed coins to fit their exp. shell.

If you lose, or damage an unexpanded coin, it is must more costly and time-consuming to replace.

One plus for unexpanded shells is the new milling on the edges, which provides easier grip for those whose hands are too dry, etc... to classic palm well.

Whatever you choose, enjoy!
Message: Posted by: Walking Bob (Jan 1, 2011 11:24PM)
I have both the expanded and unexpanded shells and I prefer the unexpanded because of how completely it covers the coin. Also I like how it looks when flat on the table, it is the same thickness as the rest of the coins.

Happy New Year!!!

Walking Bob in Iowa
Message: Posted by: Walking Bob (Jan 1, 2011 11:27PM)
Also I have a Dean's set and when you see this set you will see a major difference in expanded and unexpanded!!!

Walking Bob
Message: Posted by: Ocha (Jan 1, 2011 11:46PM)
I'm of the opinion that I prefer expanded shells, for many of the above stated reasons, but mainly because I can afford them. I'm sure that a Dean's set is better in fit and quality and precision, but I can do most if not ALL of the same routines with an expanded shell and 4 regular coins as I could with a Dean's set whith enough money left over to buy some great videos and books to teach me these routines. With a good expanded shell and 4 coins I've carefully matched to it I doubt any spectator (or magician for that matter) could tell me if I was using a Dean's set or Expanded set. You see during any routine I would do the shell is not left still next to any other coin for any real amount of time for there to be any comparison of size. The coins in a routine are usually in motion for the most part and not just set on the table for comparisons, even with a coin matrix the shell is usually only next to another coin for a second or two before it is covered and "teleported" to a new location.

Now this is only my opinion and if anyone thinks that I would change my opinion completely if only I'd use a Dean's set, well feel free to send me a Dean's set to prove me wrong :) otherwise I'll be using expanded sets until I get that retirement check that the Powerball people are going to send me. :cool:

If you can afford it and you want the very best then by all means check out the custom sets like the Dean's set, I'm sure you won't be disappointed. the custom coin guys do GREAT WORK and I hope my opinion doesn't come across in any negative way towards them, I just feel the custom coins are a magician's luxury but not a necessity.

Message: Posted by: taller8 (Jan 3, 2011 12:26PM)
I prefer the unexpanded set mainly for the coverage that the shell provides, and the new milled edges. But I didn't go out of my way to buy this set, I just found a used Barber Deans set on the Café.

Both styles are great.

But that is a good point, if I lost one of the extra coins, it would be expensive to replace.

But of course, no matter what style you buy, the shell will always look a little larger.
Message: Posted by: taller8 (Jan 3, 2011 12:26PM)
I prefer the unexpanded set mainly for the coverage that the shell provides, and the new milled edges. But I didn't go out of my way to buy this set, I just found a used Barber Deans set on the Café.

Both styles are great.

But that is a good point, if I lost one of the extra coins, it would be expensive to replace.

But of course, no matter what style you buy, the shell will always look a little larger.
Message: Posted by: BanzaiMagic (Jan 3, 2011 03:41PM)
On 2005-11-27 14:16, Magical Dimensions wrote:
I am looking for magnetic shells. Is there such a thing?


When you are ready, you might want to look into a custom T.U.C. or a Lassen TT/Schoolcraft 3CM.


Message: Posted by: Bendy (Jan 10, 2011 12:54AM)
I have a few sets of coins with a ]. I have a Deans Set of Peace dollars from Jamie Schoolcraft, I have an unexpanded set of Morgan dollars from Roy Kueppers and I have an expanded Peace dollar ] from Johnson. When it first arrived, I was pleasantly surprised by the Johnson ]. It's good quality, not much rocking/movement and covers a regular Peace dollar by about 2/3 of the coin. Not perfect to close scrutiny or when performing in front of other magicians or people "in the know" about the utility device. I added a Teflon disc to the inside to cut down on noise; which helps. The ] then sits higher on the coin, of course; but the lack of noise is a fair trade-off. The distortion on the Johnson is minimal and certainly less than I expected, having seen some other expanded ]s. But in comparing it side-by-side to another coin, you can see the expansion distortion; but, again, it's less than you would expect if you've inspected cheaper ]s. My Johnson ] is primarily for practice purposes and as an emergency backup, should something happen to one of my unexpanded sets that requires me to have to replace one of the coins.

The Roy Kueppers unexpanded set is very nice. Recently, I was comparing it to a friend's Lassen set, and it is my opinion that it actually looks better and covers the reduced and re-milled coins by a much greater fraction. Of course, I may have been looking at an expanded Lassen ] and not an 'unexpanded' one. Honestly, as I write this, I'm not sure. But the Kueppers set is a beautiful set of well-made/milled coins and my second favorite to work with. In fact, I carry this set everywhere, perform with it almost daily and am confident in performing with it in any environment and am proud to recommend it to other magicians.

Then there's my Schoolcraft Deans Set. Consisting of an unexpanded ] and four reduced and re-milled coins, it is nothing less than a work of art. To the naked eye of someone who does not know they're looking at a coin and a ], it is virtually impossible to identify the coin with the ]. The Schoolcraft set is my favorite set to work with. Beautifully and artfully made and the coins work in concert with the ] like a dream. This is my "executive" set, in that I use it often, but do not use my Schoolcraft set daily. This is the first expensive set I ever purchased; which I finally purchased as an investment after years of wanting one and not wanting, or able, to spend the money. I highly recommend a Schoolcraft set, (Dean's Set, if you can swing it), for all my professional magician colleagues. They are worth the INVESTMENT. In my opinion, they are the absolute best on the market.

There are noticeable differences between an expanded ] and an unexpanded ] with reduced and re-milled coins. Noticeable differences in look, feel, sound, palming and overall use. In all of these areas, I find the unexpanded sets to be superior. It's obviously a matter of personal preference and, but I prefer the unexpanded ] to an expanded one; even if the expanded one is of good quality. ...Just my personal choice; but I thought I'd share it here. Take it for what it's worth - it's just my viewpoint based on the sets I have and use.
Message: Posted by: Ocha (Jan 10, 2011 07:52PM)
Ok I've only got one thing to say to Bendy's review and opinions... AWESOME!!! As I'm sure most here have read my opinions on the matter of expanded vs. unexpanded, I still stand by Some of my points but Bendy's review has me really wanting to try a Dean's Set Badly. That was a very thorough, informative, and persuasive opinion and I thank you for giving me a little incite with direct comparisons and no-nonsense descriptions of all aspects of the difference between the sets.

I'm speechless....

Message: Posted by: J-Mac (Jan 10, 2011 11:10PM)
Question about Schoolcraft's Dean's Sets: Originally they were advertised as the shell being not only for the milled matching coins that come with it, but also that the "Dean's Set Flippers" fit perfectly within the shell. While the Dean's Sets are still sold I haven't seen any Dean's Set Flippers for a long time. Are they still sold? And if not then of what benefit is the Deans Set over the regular unexpanded set?


Message: Posted by: Bendy (Jan 15, 2011 12:24AM)
Thanks, Ocha. ...If you were a local guy, I'd let you handle the Schoolcraft Deans Set to see the difference. I think it would sell you on it. But, again, it's all personal preference. You've gotta work with what suits you best.

J-Mac: I don't have a Deans Set Flipper. I know that with the Schoolcraft stuff, Jamie keeps your coin specs on record, (and provides them to you when you purchase from him, as well). So if you have a Deans Set, chances are he can make a Flipper that will work perfectly in concert with the set. If you have an older Deans Set for which he may not have record, or if you got it second hand or something, I'm guessing Jamie could still make a Flipper that would be perfect for whatever Deans Set you have.

As for the Deans Set over regular unexpanded set...Schoolcraft is the only one selling "Deans Sets." That's what he calls his unexpanded sets. ...So they are one in the same. To answer how the Schoolcraft Deans Sets are different from one manufacturer's unexpanded set or another, you'd have to do a side-by-side comparison to know the difference and know what works best for you. While the Deans Set and another's 'unexpanded' set are built on the same principles and should be the same thing...I can tell you that all unexpanded sets are not created equally. Again, I believe Jamie Schoolcraft's are the best available. There are others that are really, really good and worth the investment and will serve you well for a lifetime. But the Schoolcraft ones - for me, anyway - are a cut above the others I've seen, own and have worked with. I can't technically explain it. ...It's a 'feel' thing, mostly.
Message: Posted by: Martin Simonnet (Jan 16, 2011 05:20AM)
I can't help but have a preference towards expanded [.
It is quite useful when performing with [/ coins, as they fit inside the shell.
Also, I have a [ by Mr. Belmont, and he does e[ without having the face of the coin distorted... It's just slightly bigger, since it is an e[, but the face is identical.
Besides, the e[ also has some other advantages, from a more practical point of view, such as an easier replacement of the coins if you break/lose/drop one.
Just my 2 cents :)
Message: Posted by: cdmdu (Jan 16, 2011 01:03PM)
Get a hopping half set and you could make up your own opinion about it. You will also discover that you can use the two [ together, increasing the effects and methods... and difficulties.
It depend also of the context of your presentation (impromptu or not, etc.), of your other gimmicks (okito box for example) if used, of your own habits and experiences.

just my 1 cent.
Message: Posted by: Hugh Entwistle (Jan 17, 2012 08:25PM)
I personally prefer the expanded shell as other coins can be borrowed and the shell palmed, giving the spectator the appearance of an impromptu effect, also that the milled down coin for the unexpanded is just another coin you need to have on you and takes away some of the flexibility of your routines, you cannot borrow the coin and when examined, the detailed eye may pick up on it
Message: Posted by: bowers (Jan 17, 2012 08:35PM)
I prefer the unexpanded myself.
Message: Posted by: Daniel Clemente (Jan 17, 2012 09:33PM)
I'm all about the expanded!
Message: Posted by: Lawrence O (Jan 18, 2012 12:30PM)
The drawback of the unexpanded shell is the re-milling of the insert and therefore the initial choice of coin. If the original coin has a smooth edge, it's not a real problem.
Now this beingsaid I have been using for years, in performance, some non remilled coins with their shell and nobody ever noticed the absence of milling on the insert.
So the preference for the unexpanded shell is, IMHO, a collector's vision and feeling.
As already underlined in this thread, the expanded shell offers the advantage of fitting any original similar coins. Now, this being said, using an expanded shell over a non expanded shel offers a lot of possibilities.
Samoya is one brilliant example of such possibilities.
Message: Posted by: rickmagic1 (Jan 22, 2012 05:32PM)
I have a routine I'd like to perform, but need a locking unexpanded shell and coin to do it. Where are these available?
Message: Posted by: Yano (Apr 23, 2012 07:53AM)
I prefer expanded shells and david roth has a lot of work on it
Message: Posted by: Mb217 (Apr 30, 2012 12:33PM)
Hi Rick, surprise no response to your question on this??? You might know already by now but you should be able to get what you want here from any of the craftsman. Mr. Tango or Roy Kueppers I'm sure could help with such a simple order. You might also give a great new craftsman here a try with this, PM TWOCAN here on the Café, he does very good work. ;)

Message: Posted by: Merc Man (May 1, 2012 05:55AM)
I guess that in the UK, many of us cut our teeth as kids with an unexpanded shell because they were cheaper; normally an old 1d (older, large penny) or a decimal 2p. As neither are milled-edged coins, the inserts look fine. It just made it more difficult to keep track of the reduced diameter coin during performance.

I think the first expanded shell that I saw was in the mid 1980's - it was a U.S. half dollar. Unfortunately, it was very shallow and often slid off the coin it was covering - I wonder whether this is where the initial concept for a Slippery Sam gimmick was generated?

I used to use expanded and non-expanded shells until last Summer. That's when I discovered the Tango T.U.C. and my range of shells went onto ebaY.

For me anyway, the T.U.C. does EVERYTHING that any shell can do - and a whole lot more (given, for example, it's magnetic properties). It's also much easier to handle (with practice), doesn't 'talk' as much as a shell and can be subjected to cleaner handling; e.g. easily thrown around, shown on both sides, etc.