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Profile of DanielSkahen
To preface this, I'm not a coin magician. But I do incorporate coin magic into my repertoire and try to keep a relatively sharp edge in this area.

I've found, however, that the use of gimmicked coins is incredibly addicting... and damaging. The more I perform with trick coins, the more I want to perform with trick coins and let them take over my routine, normally built on sleights.

I understand this is an abstract question, but I'm wondering if anyone else has run into this kind of issue. How do you balance gimmicks and sleights in coin magic?
- Dan Skahen
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Inner circle
Cleveland, OH
2083 Posts

Profile of yachanin
Hi Daniel,

There is no "correct" answer to your question. Each performer will have his or her preferences. Use a "balance" of sleights and gaffs that works best and is most comfortable for you. It is quite possible that balance will change over time. Above all, enjoy what you do.

Regards, Steve
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Inner circle
Pennsylvania, USA
1330 Posts

Profile of Fingers
I totally understand and it was about the same for me a while back Skahen. However, after doing a lot of coin work I have changed my position and thought on that subject.

I think gaffs and gimmicks are great, but I use them kind of as a last resort now and usually only when they can do things that you can't do with sleight-of-hand, of which there isn't much. Now if I can use sleight-of-hand I do and prefer to do, when at all possible. I prefer sleight-of-hand, because I believe it gives you more control over the routine and more freedom to manipulate the coins to your advantage, while gaffs kind of lock you into one path in a routine and up the possibility of getting caught to a higher level.....
Where I go, so do my coins.....
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Profile of ViciousCycle
Go back to Bobo's New Modern Coin Magic, and you will see coin routines that may use gimmicked coins, but still rely on your sleight of hand coin skills. For example, the Sympathetic Coin routine can be done with either normal coins or gimmicked coins, and both cases require good handling on your part. The Peregrinating Halves uses a e[ but you have to rely on your normal coin skills.

One thing that is misleading is the way that gimmicked coins often include packaged routines where you rely on the gimmick rather than use the gimmick as a utility. But this is like buying a hammer and getting packaged instructions just telling you to smack everything you can with it. You can use a hammer to just smack everything in sight... or you can use it as a tool to aid you in building furniture or a house.

I was disappointed with a DVD on using the S&S because the performer had the gimmick doing most of the work. On the other hand, I like the S&S a lot. As I slowly work my way through Bobo, I stop to consider how a given routine could incorporate a S&S.
Jonathan Townsend
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Eternal Order
Ossining, NY
27143 Posts

Profile of Jonathan Townsend
Use of gaffs vs sleights has NOTHING to do with the audience. The audience should be clueless as to methods. Unless you are doing juggling they should not be aware or even thinking you are using skill as opposed to the magic you appear to be demonstrating. Juggling is cool BTW, and its own craft.

Does this mean you want to be a juggler? To show off how clever you are at moving stuff around? Do you have that much awareness that you can process YOUR feelings about using sleights DURING a performance?

Any coins you don't borrow are for all intents and purposes props and may as well be fake or gaffed. They simply aren't real to the audience. Perhaps they are real for your performing character and may remind some folks of what they saw in history books, coin collections or things their parents may have had... but they are not REAL, just props.

As to "a sharp edge" and "take over your routine", perhaps you are losing focus on what all your efforts bring to your audiences. It really is all for them (isn't it?) and they could care less what methods you use since they should not be at all aware of any methods you may be using. Until you can find pure sleight of hand methods to duplicate (in real-world performing situations) what gaffs can give you... use the gaffs so you can bring the magic to your audiences.

IMHO you are best off giving your audience the most magical looking routines you can and treat your props as props.

Some of us eschew gaffs simply because we oft drop coins and got tired of the sound gaffs make when the rattle or explode on the table. all the coins I've dropped here
Justin Craddock
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Profile of Justin Craddock
I have one effect where I produce coins from my ears. I also have 2 different methods to accomplish the same exact thing. One uses no gimmicks and a whole lot of misdirection and the other uses all gimmicks. In the eyes of the spectator they would be seeing the same effect and my presentation is exactly the same. As long as you get across what you want to get across then why not use the gimmicks. There is a little problem I could see with it and that is the fact that you could get psychologically attached to your gimmicks and feel like you cannot do anything impromptu, such as if someone asked you to do something with their coins or if you want to show someone something and you cannot because you do not have your toys. other than that gimmick away.
"When a performance is over, What remains"
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Profile of DanielSkahen
Thanks for all the feedback guys. I'm impressed and grateful for the thoughtfulness of your answers.
- Dan Skahen
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Inner circle
In my day, I have driven
1594 Posts

Profile of airship
Due to nerve damage in my hands from diabetes, I can no longer do many of the slights I used to do. I still use the ones I can, but have slowly segued to using gaffes to fill in for moves I can no longer do. As Jonathan says up there, it makes no difference to the audience as long as your performance and presentation are tuned to entertain them.
'The central secret of conjuring is a manipulation of interest.' - Henry Hay
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Inner circle
1965 Posts

Profile of tbaer
The way the gimmick coins are made nowadays with new technology compared to in the past aide in gimmick coin magic being addicting for me. I'm sure everyone has a folding coin where you could see the seam and now they are virtually seamless with the laser cut coins. How about the first flipper compared to the new gravity flipper. And then there is the expanded shell with some slight distortion to the face, but if you want no distortion you just get the unexpanded shell with some matching remilled coins. The list goes on and on.
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