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Topic: "Justify" using dollars for non-Americans
Message: Posted by: Aces2012 (Jan 17, 2013 03:44PM)
So I've been using half-dollars exclusively for my routines, due to handling ease and UK coins being unsuitable.

Anyway, since I'm in the UK, inevitably the question arises, "Why are you using American coins?", and saying "They are easier to use" doesn't seem like the type of reasoning that would fill the spectator with confidence in my abilities. So long story short, any other non-US performers got a particular line they use to explain this away?
Message: Posted by: Chessmann (Jan 17, 2013 04:08PM)
Are you sure you need to justify or explain them? Think about that...

I'm in the USA, but how about some throw away like, "I was in the US last week/month/year, and..." or "I collect foreign coins, and..." If you use a 'throw-away' line, say it and then forget about it, and those you are performing for will likely not care a bit.

If anyone asks you why you're using foreign coins, "People here see UK coins all the time - foreign coins can be interesting.."

There's a million and one ways of doing it...but you may not even have to.

If a spec thinks you are making an effort trying to justify using them, that's not good. If the magic is good and you entertain them, they won't care too much about the coins.
Message: Posted by: Aces2012 (Jan 17, 2013 04:21PM)
Thanks, it's a good point about not dwelling on it, it's just been a case in the past where people have figured since they are completely unfamiliar with the coins, then they suppose that they must be trick coins or something.
Message: Posted by: bobthemagicdoerguy (Jan 17, 2013 05:09PM)
You could always explain how weird Americans are - even their money is strange: let people examinate them beforehand. Just fill yourself up with some coin lore so that you sound like a geeky collector who actually would carry them around for a reason... "See, these are my favorite coins. The 1965 Kennedys. I have two minted in Philadelphia and two from Denver. You can tell which are which by the way the eagle has its relief carved out. The eagle, by the way, was chosen by those cheeky yankees as a symbol of flying to the moon, which is why they mint these things in Denver - its the easiest place to shoot rockets into space and is where Kennedy was actually assassinated. Or was it Dallas? I forget. All American towns sound the same to me. It was the Americans who made it to the moon first, right? I keep getting those confused with the Soviets who got the first man into space. Did you know that the first American into space went up with his pants wet because he couldn't get out of the capsule to pee? True story. And when the test pilots were starting to run jet test flights, they had the pilots dress up in gorilla outfits so that anyone who saw them wouldn't believe that a plane could fly without a propeller. I mean Gorillas? Flying? That's ridiculous. Everyone knows they prefer bicycles. Americans were silly to think people would fall for that. Sure, they are weird, and even their money has got some strange properties... check this out..." (move into routine)

The alternative is to switch to native coins.

Half the fun with coin magic is doing something with readily available items so that people see magic with everyday objects. Its the reason that magic with silks and top hats is less common now than it used to be.

Funny thing is, in the US, I have the same problem with Eisenhowers. They have been out of circulation for nearly 25 years, and nobody ever sees them anymore. Its just as weird for me to carry those around as it would be to carry a nigerian whatever-they-use-over-there. The biggest one we have commonly over here are the new brass colored dollars, which are barely bigger than a quarter. Frustrating to no end.
Message: Posted by: Atom3339 (Jan 17, 2013 06:22PM)
Simple: They're larger; more visible.
Message: Posted by: Michael Rubinstein (Jan 17, 2013 06:49PM)
I have asked that question to my non American coin magician friends, and they all say people don't question because the euro is not a visible currency for groups of several people. It's why we use half dollars or dollars instead of quarters and dimes! People aren't familiar anymore with our bigger coins, or our older coins, so we face the same thing.
Message: Posted by: bowers (Jan 17, 2013 07:03PM)
I use foreign coins in a lot of my effects.
and never get question about it.most are intrested
in looking at them because they have never seen them before.
Message: Posted by: Agaton (Jan 17, 2013 07:40PM)
I live halfway across the globe and I use Half Dollars most of the time when I perform. When they ask what coin is it, I hand it over and tell them what they are. For the past two-three or so years of doing coin magic on a regular basis, I remember being asked twice on why I use it. I just said it's my preferred coin. Nothing much to justify. Is there a reason to?
Message: Posted by: Poof-Daddy (Jan 17, 2013 07:59PM)
I guess we, as Americans have the same problem sometimes. A Walking Liberty Half and a Morgan Dollar have never been seen by some before. The few times I have been questioned about why I use them, I simply tell them so I wont accidently spend them on a burger. Oh my, the truth hurts :) I have spent Kennedy halves on food before(not pre 65). Suprisingly, I have never been questioned about my use of English Pennies, Mexican Centavos or Chineese Coins.
Message: Posted by: Ray Haining (Jan 17, 2013 08:52PM)
I once spent in the early 1970s in NYC a Walking Liberty half dollar for food. It was painful, but I think I also took some kind of perverse pleasure in the deed.

When I use Walking Liberties, I explain that I use them because they are pure silver, not like today's silver coins, which are only coated silver. I also use pure copper English pennies and Chinese coins (although those are fake).

If spectators think you are using trick coins, they will be quickly disabused of the fact once they see the seemingly impossible stunts you are able to do with them that no trick coins could possibly enable you to do.
Message: Posted by: evikshin (Jan 17, 2013 11:57PM)
I would keep it simple: "Well, I think these look pretty, and being silver, they don't darken up my hands."


"these were a gift from my Grandfather..."

If you don't make a big deal out of it, your spectator won't either. I've used American coins all over Asia before, and when the question does arise (rarely), that's how I brush it aside.

If people are going to suspect trick coins, they are going to suspect trick coins. The only way to counter this is with how clever routining.

Good luck
Message: Posted by: Vayron (Jan 18, 2013 03:09AM)
The walking liberties have an eagle on the tail side, so they can fly :)
Message: Posted by: mago.niko (Jan 18, 2013 03:57AM)
I have been asked a couple of times and my answer is that I'm also a coin collector and I like to use beautiful and rear coins. That's why I'm using walking liberty half dollars. When I let them see the dates on the coins they believe me!!
Message: Posted by: Russell Davidson (Jan 18, 2013 04:43AM)
Any story you like will do. If you use dollars you have the visibility line, or with any other US coin the age, silver content etc always makes good patter.

If you hand the coins out to be examined then where they're from becomes irrelevant. A coin is a coin in the spectators mind.

If you're really worried about it learn a copper / silver routine & use a borrowed 10p & 2p.
Message: Posted by: fonda57 (Jan 18, 2013 08:26AM)
How about---Because I found them on the street
Message: Posted by: Mark_Chandaue (Jan 18, 2013 10:27AM)
I tend to use 99.9% English coins these days but in the old days when I mostly used half dollars I would simply say that I think they are a beautiful coin and because I can't spend them I'm always going to have enough coins to do magic. Neither statement is untrue.
Message: Posted by: Gulyás Imre Miklós (Jan 18, 2013 10:36AM)
I usually tell that these are nice big coins, so it's easier to see them. When I use dollars, that is.
Message: Posted by: mago.niko (Jan 18, 2013 06:41PM)
I have been asked a couple of times and my answer is that I'm also a coin collector and I like to use beautiful and rear coins. That's why I'm using walking liberty half dollars. When I let them see the dates on the coins they believe me!!
Message: Posted by: Daz Buckley (Jan 20, 2013 11:22PM)
The best justification I have ever heard for using US coins was from Rune Klan " .....because you just don't hear enough about America these days !" Hilarious ! I don't use it and I have never had anyone ask why I am using US coins ( I'm from Australia ). I have used the " I was in the US / Vegas " line before but , seriously I have never been asked. Sometimes as a convincer I hand out the coins before the routine, as a lot of people have never seen a US Half before and are interested. I think thatn most people get the fact that coins are solid bits of metal and that is why the magic is strong, not becaues you are performing with money anyway. The only people who ask about the fact that I don't use local currency and how do audiences accept that are magicians. I think that speaks volumes about our mindset, not the audiences. In short, don't stress it. If the magic is strong they won't care if you are using washers. ( But US washers of course.....Now how do I explain that ??? )
Message: Posted by: KarstenMeyerhoff (Jan 21, 2013 10:52AM)
I will readily admit that I'm a total rookie when it comes to coins, but I considered carefully
which coins to use before I started even practicing a few months ago. I decided to use American
half dollars for a variety of reasons (size, availability of gaffs, ...) although I'm German and
using Euro-coins would have been more "logical". What I thought of was to start any routine by
saying: "Look, I've got a 2€-coin here: It's small! Compared to other coins such as the old
5DM-coin you could say, it's tiny. That's why I use American half-dollar-coins ...
[here I'd do a switch; Bobo-switch in fact]
... they are just so much more visible."
That way, I would have not only a justification but also the first effect. Didn't try it on
an audience, though ...
Message: Posted by: TomBollandLTD (Jan 25, 2013 10:26AM)
I've just bid on a US half dollar, and I honestly believe people are actually more excited to see tricks using foreign coins. As long as they can inspect them before or after, they're usually ok with it :)It's more magical!