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Topic: Quarter Or Half Dollar
Message: Posted by: obsidian52 (Sep 4, 2009 09:48AM)
I do a lot of coin work (but I"m no David Roth) and I don't know what took me so long to realize this, but there are expanded shells and other assorted gaffs for quarters as well as half dollars. Should I make the switch (yes, it entails buying all new stuff)to the more common, recognizable coin, or is it not necessary.....I don't recall ever hearing anything negative about using half dollars.
Message: Posted by: mike storz (Sep 4, 2009 09:56AM)

I actually have that same issue but instead of going from halves to quarters I'm thinking about going from halves to dollar size coins. The issue for me is the smaller coins just are not as visual as the larger coins. Halves are great and I have never been called out on using them instead of using quarters.

The only gaff in a quarter I'm considering is the split coin because it might be nice to have for the show me a trick moment.

Just my two cents. :)
Message: Posted by: Johnny Butterfield (Sep 4, 2009 11:42AM)
IMHO, it's a matter of style, and what size works best in your hands.

It's not stretching believability that I might have something a little more exotic on me than common currency when I'm dressed up nicely. And being "of a certain age" (read: old) certainly helps. Having nicer things is somewhat age-appropriate.

A 13 year old with a handful of 1922 peace dollars might raise a red flag. Not so for a 43 year old in a suit.

That being said, a quarter shell and a coins across using borrowed coins is a stunner.
Message: Posted by: Mb217 (Sep 4, 2009 12:34PM)
I've done them all and must say here that IMHO, specs don't care one way or the other, if you use their coin or your coin (that's stuff that magi's think they think, locically thinking that is). :D Truth is that specs mostly respond to good magic either which way, your coins or theirs. So don't worry about whose coins they are, just be good at what you do as that matters the most. :)

As to the size of the coins (and a lot of things in life), bigger is usually better that is here in the way of being more visual and subconciously gives the spec the feeling that they are even more on top of following things...same thing for going from half dollars to dollar coins.

I remember Chris "3 Fly" Kenner saying once that people that do 3 Fly with half dollars just don't get it. :D I didn't either at first but the dollar size coins make the effect look so much better along with making you better as well. Sure it has a lot to do with being comfortable and size of your hands but I tellya, I once saw a 13yr old boy do 3 Fly with dollar coins and it made it even more amazing to me, knowing that his hands weren't all that big but clearly his skill was. ;) He's probably somewhere doing 3 Fly with manhole covers by now...:D

With that, it's all about practice really and giving your hands the time to learn what you need them to do. :) Don't get me wrong, I like working with the half dollar size coins and they are sometimes more appropriate but playing with the dollar size coins for a week or 2 exclusively opened a reluctant door and gave me even more confidence in myself through my hands.

Haven't used quarters in 25yrs, haven't done Dime & Penny either probably longer than that. :D Enjoy the journey, it's all good. :) -Mb
Message: Posted by: Christopher Rinaldi (Sep 4, 2009 12:49PM)
I've never had one person make a deal out of the half dollars I use, it's never happened once.

Is this simply a case of magicians over thinking again?

Message: Posted by: obsidian52 (Sep 4, 2009 02:06PM)
Yes, as the original poster, I have never ever been called on using halfs, and it definitely is a case of magicians (me) overthinking......So, I guess I'll stick with the halves, not worry about it or think about it and just do my stuff, do my thing.....go for it.
Message: Posted by: Christopher Rinaldi (Sep 4, 2009 02:22PM)
Don't let that stop you from future purchases if a gaff quarter or whatever is needed and you'll find your self doing impromtu coin magic using normal coins from peoples pockets.

I will say this I do not like the modern quarters what with their differnt states and all that, hard to match a gimmicked quarter with a borrowed one I would imagine.
Message: Posted by: Mb217 (Sep 4, 2009 03:25PM)
Even harder for specs to even notice that they are not matched coins to begin with. :D

People's minds differentiate very simply...If 2 coins look pretty much alike then they are alike - Done. Believe me, no one cares (again, except the over-thinking this stuff magicians) whether you have 2 state quarters with different states on them...Or 4 of them with states from different parts of the country. :D

The mind differentiates more precisely between color, size, weight, etc. But if something looks pretty much alike, then for the most part under normal conditions, then it is. And that little tidbit is a part of why we can do in magic what we do, that is the mind's acceptance/deduction of normalcy.

It's always been funny to me as to coin guys making sure the dates are the same on their 3-4 coins in a Coins Across or 3 Fly --- Like the spec has any idea or any care beyond the obvious look of the coins, what the date is??? :D No matter how close they are to you using the coins their minds never, never ever think about the dates. The coins don't even have to be all that identical, all they have to do is all be shiny or all be dull, or all be worn and the mind accepts it as all is fine.

I rarely do coin tricks from coins in a spec's pocket, there's never ever a need to but I could. But I guess since I'm running the show and I'm stering the interactions, why not simply use what puts me in the best position, which is always "My" coins, which happen to 99% of the time be regular coins anyway, and they can check them before or afterwards...Yet another thing that most specs hardly ever ask to do, if you're doing this stuff right. ;)

I tellya, try using invisible coins sometimes or even invisible gaffed coins :D, now there's a real treat to think about. :)

Seriously, use what's needed and try not to use what's not necessary. It's sorta like filling your own backpack with sand.
Message: Posted by: Christopher Rinaldi (Sep 4, 2009 04:19PM)
Matching dates is a bit silly, I do not go that far but I do like my coins looking pretty much the same, especially if I'm doing a cig thru quarter. Call it a comfort zone I guess.
Message: Posted by: Mb217 (Sep 4, 2009 06:51PM)
Yeah, I hearya. Most coin guys that get sets of coins want the dates to be the same, yep silly I agree...Think it's probably just some sort of neatness thing. :D Like I said and you agree that looking pretty much the same is all that's really necessary. I haven't done cig thru quarter in ages but it's a wonderful effect. Guess I gave it up when I got into doing my Karate Koin, happened when I stop smoking...Matter of fact I thought a lot of people missed out on Cig Thru Quarter primarily because most folks don't smoke and probably wouldn't bother with it much. :)
Message: Posted by: funsway (Sep 5, 2009 07:39AM)
I sometimes disagree with Marion becauus it causes him to come up with a new effect, but here I think an important point is being missed. The most powerful magic is that done in the hands of the spectator, or at least with his direct involvement. If you place a silver dollar or even a half in a spectator's hand he will treat it differently than he does an 'every day' quarter. It changes the balance between anticipation and surprise. Familiarity keeps things simple.

So, I believe that every coin magician should have some quarter based effects in his 'backpack', not only for impromptu, but to engage the audience. Then when you ask, "Can everyone see this?' and they say "no!" you change the quarter to a dollar and keep going.

Maybe I should work up an eBook on quarter based effects just for fun -- the use of gaffs included.
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Sep 6, 2009 12:19PM)
Interesting thread...

I've done Coins Across and Coins Through The Table with halves at first. I've always noticed the intensity of their response. No complaint.

Then I moved to Ike Dollar coins. Again, no problem.

Then I got out my quarter shell, and that evening did Coins Through The Table with borrowed quarters. The cussing and swearing, "No F*^%$ing WAY!", "Impossible", and all...wow. Never got that with halves OR dollar coins.

Just to see if that was a fluke I did it again, different people. First, halves with one group, then dollars with another, then later the quarters, and AGAIN...very intense reaction. I'm not imagining it.

What happened?

Message: Posted by: GaryW (Sep 6, 2009 08:17PM)
I just picked up some Roy Kueppers flipper quarters. They cost more than the halfs, but they are quarters and the cut is simply genius.

Borrowed money is so cliche, but try to borrow a half, or a dollar coin. Even the new dollar coins are quarter sized so get used to it.

I still love the mass and weight that comes with a morgan dollar, but about .01% of my audience knows what that is.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Sep 6, 2009 08:26PM)
On 2009-09-06 21:17, GaryW wrote:...
Borrowed money is so cliche, ...

What do you mean by cliche here?
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Sep 9, 2009 02:15PM)
Well, here's an update:

THe common answer I get, when I ask (paraphrasing), "Why are you so amazed at the quarters? You didn't flip out like that with the Silver Dollars..." Their answer? Again, paraphrasing, "...well I just figured you had some kinda SPECIAL coins, there. But when you took MY money...and did that...WOW..."

So, there IS a suspicion, if the coins are not legal tender. English pennies, for example. One guy asked, "What IS that, some sort of ATOMIC Coin?" The coins "ringing", as I drop each one on the table, really doesn't do it. Too bad half dollars elicit the same response. Not bad, mind you, just not as INTENSE as when you BORROW four quarters and...(pick your fave...)

My little quarter shell...who'd a thunk it??

Message: Posted by: vpatanio (Sep 9, 2009 05:52PM)
I have been using dollar coins lately, but last year I did a coins across with kennedy halves and had the final coin travel to a friends hand...a week later she asked me to "do that trick with the QUARTERS again." I declined and did a different trick, but the point is that she didn't even remember them being halves (probably because I didn't make a big deal of them)...I'm not sure what my point is, but it is interesting. :)

Message: Posted by: obsidian52 (Sep 9, 2009 05:57PM)
All very interesting replies.....now to only get some gaffed quarters like scotch and soda which I enjoy doing, hopping halves in quarters, which I also enjoy, and a quarter shell.....I can do all the same usual sleights with quarters than I can with halves, so no problem there.
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Sep 10, 2009 11:38AM)
If I'm not mistaken, obsidian52, Scotch & Soda with quarters uses an English Half-penny ("APE-nee"), and hopping quarters do as well. They are not Johnson Products', though.

The ones I remember were customs...by Lassen, I think. Or was it Schoolcraft?

I'm practicing Coins Across (five coin...1 ahead) with quarters. Ha! You think it's hard going from HALVES to DOLLARS, try DOLLARS to QUARTERS! ROFL!

Nickles, dimes and pennies are just TOO small...if ya borrow money, quarters work best. And...you really don't need gaffs. Sometimes I never even use the shell...if I need a real WOWSER, well, there it is.

Message: Posted by: markmiller (Sep 10, 2009 11:55AM)
If you use halves or Morgan silver dollars plan on having the coins examined by spectators.
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Sep 11, 2009 10:18AM)
I agree...even "Ikes" draw suspicion...and remember, even AFTER they've examined the coins, they are still suspicious of "special coins"...no way around it. Especially if they've never seen that type before...

Message: Posted by: obsidian52 (Sep 11, 2009 10:37AM)
Yaknow, I was thinking (and just that alone may be a problem)sure,using quarters may eliminate some of the thoughts about "special" coins, but the bottom line, is most locking sets CAN be handed out, of course effects without any gaffs can be handed out, but most, (if not all) laymen never heard or even can imagine something like a shell, or a copper/silver coin or if I may jump forums for a sec, a double facer or backer, a 3 1/2 of clubs, cards with different indexes or any of that.
Message: Posted by: jordanl (Sep 11, 2009 11:10AM)
I think its a great idea to have a few effects using quarters or other commonly circulating coins in your repertoire, especially for more informal performances. OTOH when performing for a "larger" group the quarters may be too small, and larger visible coins may be appropriate. If I was just going to do a quick trick I'd use quarters, If I was going to do a longer routine at a party I'd use halves. YMMV.

When I use Silver coins, people seem more curious than suspicious, most people have heard about silver dollars, but many have never seen one.

Many effects are more powerful when done with a borrowed object - people "know" magicians can trick out things even if they have no idea how.
Message: Posted by: rjthomp (Oct 14, 2009 03:49PM)
I've never found specs to be suspicious of half dollars, but they do want to look at them just out of curiosity.

My feeling is you get a very different effect using half dollars (particularly older silver ones) than you do with quarters.

One is perceived as interesting,both for their rareness and their intrinsic value, the other as common, everyday objects that are essentially worthless.

Depending on the effect you're going for, both have their advantages.

Message: Posted by: Jaz (Oct 14, 2009 03:57PM)
My answer here is that if you're doing a show then use larger coins.
If in and impromptu situation then commonly circulated coinage plays very strong.
Message: Posted by: SilvaAce (Oct 16, 2009 09:04AM)
I've never had a problem with people asking me if they are trick coins.
Really, who (laypeople) uses half dollars, silver dollars,mexican centavos,
or english pennies today. I do most of my coin work with 1941 Walking Liberties and people are just amazed at thier beauty. Then I bring out my Scotch and Soda or Copper/Copper Silver coins and people just sit back and enjoy the show. Of course the handling plays a big part.
So I agree with Christopher Rinaldi about magicians just over thinking again.
I believe people just want to see something amazing when they come to see magic, regardless of what you use.
Message: Posted by: obsidian52 (Oct 16, 2009 09:31AM)
As the original poster I agree with SilvaAce 100%. No one has ever questioned me on a coin being unusual or gaffed (like they have a clue about a gaffed coin or card for that matter) It's all about being entertaining and amazing, I have used some of the oldest self working tricks, 3 1/2 of clubs, and have absolutely blown people away, so yes, it definitely is about magicians overthinking......
Message: Posted by: dabah2014 (Nov 5, 2009 06:23PM)
I prefer half dollars since they are larger and easier to handle. If you use half dollars though, people may be inclined to ask to examine it since half dollars are not that common.
Message: Posted by: tommeepickles (Jan 15, 2010 02:40PM)
I perform a coins across with quarters. If I perform close-up, I do this because you can borrow quarters holding out the shell. I also feel that there is a reason for using four quarters because I can always say I got change for a dollar. The last reason is I can have the spectator handle the shell by the edges and it is 95% undetectable but if you used a half dollar it might be more detectable.
Message: Posted by: lorenwade (Jan 15, 2010 03:29PM)
On 2009-11-05 19:23, dabah2014 wrote:
I prefer half dollars since they are larger and easier to handle. If you use half dollars though, people may be inclined to ask to examine it since half dollars are not that common.

I, as well as many others here, use Morgans and dollar sized coins. I've never been asked the legitimacy of my coins. I used to think this as well, but after performing for people it rarely if ever happens. Just my 2 cents.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 16, 2010 07:51PM)
Kinda depends on whether you want to amaze the audience or just feel good about the moves and tricks. If your audience says they are more impressed when you use quarters - listen to them - if you care about that stuff.

BTW, most people can't tell you the "why" of their opinion but they can tell you what the "like more" or find more impressive - (but not how or why) - so ease up on expecting folks to have both the gift of insight and the gift of language ready to go when you get them talking.