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Topic: Historical Miser's Dream idea
Message: Posted by: saxmangeoff (Dec 10, 2004 10:19AM)
This is idea that I recently came up with. It's far from fleshed out, but I thought it would be fun to bounce this one around.

The gist of the idea is a Miser's Dream done as an account of the history of the Morgan Dollar. (See http://www.coinsite.com/CoinSite-PF/PParticles/$1morgan.htm if you aren't familiar with the history.)

The basic idea is that I would present a map of Nevada, and in talking about the Comstock Lode, produce a Morgan Dollar from the map. (At this point, it's only "silver" because I haven't talked about the Morgan Dollar yet.)

Then I could talk about the development of the dollar and the Carson City mint while plucking more dollars from the map.

Finally, the lode played out, the mint closed, and a colorful chapter of US history was concluded, but we still have these fascinating pieces of history in the dollars that live on. (And the dollars could be available to the audience to "check out" afterward.)


Message: Posted by: Necromancer (Dec 17, 2004 04:40PM)
Hi Geoff,

I'm a big fan of communicating history through magic (it's the essence of my "Supernatural Chicago" show). The tricky part is keeping it entertaining to a lay audience.

My major suggestion is to ask yourself: "Why should they care?" To really hook them, you'll want to make the history personal for your audience. Maybe the presentation should be built around a suggestion that some of your audience members may possess forgotten treasure?

Whatever tack you take, so long as you can rewrite the story in a way that's interesting and audience-involving (instead of just a dry lecture), and use the coinwork to bring the key messages to life, then this could definitely work.

Effect ideas: I don't think the use of a map is particularly interesting, as the Carson City story seems a minor point. However, the story appears to support a number of other possibilities which may work individually or strung together as a routine:

(1) the transformation of silver lumps to Morgans (1878);

(2) the production of Morgans in rapid succession (1878-1904, though literally half a billion may be overkill);

(3) the transformation of Morgans back to silver lumps (as they were melted down by the government in 1918);

(4) a huge shower of Morgans (to mark the 86 million minted in 1921);

(5) the slow visible vanish of a single Morgan (to illustrate the coin's fade from public consciousness);

(5) the production of a jumbo Morgan (to dramatize the $7.6 million dollars paid at the LaVere auction of 400,000 Morgans in 1976).

I hope this sends you in a fruitful direction. Good luck to you!

Message: Posted by: saxmangeoff (Dec 18, 2004 01:45PM)

Thanks. Those are some great ideas. Lots to think about.