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whateverisisright
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Savannah, Georgia
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I know the question has come up on multiple occasions about expanded vs unexpanded shell sets, and I've done searches and reviewed numerous threads. While it'll be a while before I can purcahse one, I think I've decided on getting an unexpanded set of Morgan Silver Dollars. Since it is one of the more expensive sets and it'll be a while before I can make the purchase, I wanted to get opinions on two aspects in the meantime:

1. The only negative thing I hear about the sets is that I've heard one or two people comment that they can tell the size difference since the coins are shaved down.
2. I've also heard a few pluses and minuses of soft vs 1921 Morgan Dollars with the only big difference I've heard between the two being that the soft coins do not "talk" as much as the uncirculated ones.

I just purchased Triune from Justin Miller so I now own a few Schoolcraft coins and have been absolutely amazed at the quality of them. I haven't ever purchased any of Todd Larson's products but have heard nothing but good about them so wanted to inquire about them as well.

So my questions:
1. I'm debating between Jamie Schoolcraft's Dean's Set and Todd Larson's Unexpanded Shell set. Any of you own sets from both? I didn't see where anyone has ever directly compared the two. Does either/or have a more noticible size difference? They're both well known coin-makers, but does either one seem to have a better reputation as far as this particular type of coin goes?
2. Anyone have any extra input on the soft vs uncirculated coins aside from one shines more while the other is quieter?

Thanks for any replies.
Fingers
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Pennsylvania, USA
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I own a "Schoolcraft unexpanded" set of 1921 Morgan silver dollars. They are great coins and are a bit smaller than a normal size silver dollar, but the size difference is minimal. I would guess they are about 1 or 2 mm smaller than the normal size and unless you put it directly up against a normal silver dollar you wouldn't realize the difference, so I would say its not even an issue.

I have another set on order from "Lassen". I ordered a "expanded soft" Morgan silver dollar set from him. There are a few reasons I ordered this set:

One, I darkened my "unexpanded" Morgan set, which I think looks great for some of the particular routines I do. I don't intend on doing the same with this set, in fact I will probably work on making them shinier, which I think is much better for some "other" routines I will be doing. I may be weird, but sometimes I think you need darkened coins for some routines, I think it helps make the routines more dynamic, more mysterious. There are other times and routines where I think you need shiny coins to stand out in a routine and be seen.

Two, my Schoolcraft set is definately too noisy, so another reason I am getting this set is, because they are soft and the routines I plan on using them for require soft coins for as little noise as possible.

Three, I ordered 5 coins with this set. I wanted an expanded set for these coins, so I could add more regular sized Morgans in the future, which you can't do with the unexpanded set unless you get them milled down.

Four, all my present coins now come from Schoolcraft and are all great coins, but I wanted to give "Lassen" a try with this set. I can't compare the two companies yet, but I will be able to soon. However, everything I have heard about both dealers is good, so I am not particularly worried.

Hope I answered some of your questions. Good luck.....
Where I go, so do my coins.....
Scott Fridinger
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Gloucester Pt, VA
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Are you sure you want Unexpanded set? If one coin gets damaged, you have to have another one made. If you get an expanded shell set you can always replace them for cheaper.

Oh well, Todd Lassen (not Larson) does excellent work. He is my recommendation. But since you have some Schoolcraft coins already maybe you should stick with him. A well known card guy gave me this advise: make the choice on what you want, pick your guy and stick with him. This way you can almost always gaurantee that any future purchases will be the same quality and hopefully work together.

As far as soft vs. uncirculated, the real way to answer that question is what are you going to use the coins for. Depending on the routine, there could be pros and cons of each type of coin.
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morgandollarman
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England
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I had this problem a while back myself in that I wanted an Expanded for some routines,so I ended up ordering the Triple threat from Todd Lasson so I could use the Expanded with my regular morgans(thats if it fits them lol).I have had schoolcraft stuff before and they are excellent gaffs.This time I ordered off Todd as I wanted to see what Todds work was like as he also produces excellent gaffs aswell.
I was in two minds which to go for in unx and exp but I diden't want to lose the size of the coins but that's just me I suppose so I thought by getting the TT I have the advantage of using the TT for the routines that you can do with the gaff and also heve the reg exp to use with the regs morgans.Just waiting now for my TT to be done then I will be a very happy man.
whateverisisright
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I have 3 regular good-shape 1921 Morgan's that I'd like to order an expanded shell for to use with routines such as CoinOne, however for my 3 fly routines, I'd like to use soft coins, and the Dean's set from what I've heard "fits" better than any of the expanded sets...I have my reservations about it just because now that I've committed and said "yes, this is what I plan on getting," I've had everyone and their brother come out of the woodwork telling me "no, don't do that...," and the products are so expensive I hate to make a purchase I'm going to regret.

Decisions decisions...

For the record, does anyone know, without me having to bug Jamie himself, how much does a replacement coin for one of his Dean's Sets runs if a coin gets damaged?
Dan Watkins
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PA
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Whateverisisright, I recently wrote an essay that tackles all your questions regarding expanded vs. unexpanded, soft vs. uncirculated, etc.

You can find it in the "Foundations" section of http://www.coinvanish.com
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Joshua Barrett
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I like the unexpanded dollar. I can cp the shaved dollars better. and no one has ever ntoice and never will the size difference
whateverisisright
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Dan,
Thanks for the site. I actually found that essay courtesy of another thread here on the Café and read over it. Very informative.

It's just hard to click "buy now" on a set that expensive with little voices (ok...little text-font-words) telling you "I'd go with the other" in the background.

The only problems I hear about the unexpanded is that the coins are smaller, or that they're expensive to replace. Well, the second may be true, but my primary use for them would be either CoinOne or 3 Fly routines, so I can't imagine the spectators getting hold of them for them to notice the size difference. I wouldn't use them for an effect such as Daniel Garcia's Personal Safe (very in-the-hands of the spectator). I'd be paranoid if the spectator got to actually HOLD the coin in hand during a routine such as that.
Joshua Barrett
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I let them hold them.... how many spectarors know exactly what size a coin produced in 1880 is? 0. I use the unexpanded dollars for coinOne. troy hoosers extroyendray, and a maxtrix type routine. no one knows how big a old dollar is no one. and replaceing one is not to bad I think jamie charges like 20- 25 dollars to mill a coin
Joshua Barrett
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You might want to note. the main ending that homer uses for coin one the spectators hold the coins
Dan Watkins
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Whateverisright,

I think you are obsessing too much on size differences. Keep in mind the size difference between an unexpanded shell and its matching coins is the same size difference as an expanded shell with its matching coins.

So either way you are going to have coins that are slightly smaller than the shell.

Given this fact, I would not even make the size difference a factor in your decision. They both have it.

Also, spectators have no idea shells exist. In all the years I have performed coin magic (many routines in the hands of the spec) I have never been busted using a shell. They don't know what to look for in the first place.
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whateverisisright
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"the size difference between an unexpanded shell and its matching coins is the same size difference as an expanded shell with its matching coins. "

That's a sentence that comes with some relief. To hear some talk (one in particular) you'd think it was the difference between night and day to look at an unexpanded set.
Joshua Barrett
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Cincinnati, Ohio
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Only that the unexpanded nest a bit better. if that matters? well that's aurgueble but it is a feature none the less. also whats nice is you can get a expanded shell later and put a shell over the unexpanded shell. like I said one reason I got a unexpanded set is that dollar coins were just a bit large for me to cp well, and the milled coins are just right
morgandollarman
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Whateverisisright when I was thinking about a deans set in soft morgans I was told it would cost me $40 for an extra coin,but if I were you I would just email jamie he won't think you are bugging him he will be happy to help you trust me he will answer any questions that you may have.
shaun.
whateverisisright
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I wouldn't carry these coins around on a day-to-day basis; they would be for working environments, so I'm not all THAT concerned with losing one of the coins. I took your advice Shaun and shot Jamie an email. I'll let you know (for future reference) what price he replies with.

You said "when I was thinking about a deans set in soft morgans"...if you don't mind me asking, did you decide against them?
Joshua Barrett
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Heres what I would do and why not list them here:

I want unexpanded why: 1. 2. 3. reasons ect
I want expanded why: same deal

I don;t see how you could lose one really. if you can misplace a coin that size well then you would prolly lose a gazzo cup lol
whateverisisright
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I want an unexpanded set because:
1. According to the website, they're the 'best fitting'
2. I own a Schoolcraft expanded Walking half and while VERY nice, you still get the (although minimal) distortion
3. I've decided to stick with Schoolcraft, and he doesn't sell a soft morgan expanded set...only 1921s. He only sells soft morgan's in the unexpanded version.

The expanded shell may be better because:
1. The shell/set is cheaper.
2. Replacement coins are cheaper.
3. The coin size is maintained.

Good idea Joshua. Actually, I'm relatively set as far as my decision goes to get an unexpanded set, but that was an interesting (obvious...why did I do/think-of that to begin with?) way of spelling things out. My primary reason for beginning the post was to question if anyone had Lasson vs Schoolcraft input. Considering I'm pleased with what I've got from Schoolcraft thusfar, I see no reason for me to change unless someone had something negative to say about the Dean's sets. After the first few posts though, it ended up being another "expanded vs unexpanded shell set" discussion.

Unless someone has reason that they think a Schoolcraft unexpanded set may be inferior to a Lasson unexpanded set (or has other pros/cons I haven't mentioned/thought of), I'll be getting a Schoolcraft Dean's Set of Soft Morgans.
It'll still be a month or so before I can place my order, so I'm staying open to suggestion (I say this so no one thinks I'm trying to end this thread...I still very much would like input).
Joshua Barrett
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I have some of todds coins but honestly I just like dealing with jamie. todd is a nice guy too but jamie has jumped walls for me before to get things how I want them doing custom things and remilling some remilled coins Without them changing size. his words were" I can do it but it will be interesting to figure out how" lol
Pete McEwen
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I can honestly say you won't regret anything you get. about the price or replacing a coin... if you can shell out $250 for a set of coins that you can spend 25 to replace one... it's really worth it. Or talk to him and order more. I got a set from lassen or shaved barber halves and instead of getting 4 and a ] I got 6 with 2 shells because I was afraid I'd lose a coin or damage the shell, turns out I haven't done either and now I have a set for latta's trick with three coins and Hooser's extroydinary and then the others go to my four coin and ] set. to each his own...

Pete
The magician formerly known as SPEEDcuber
"no one will believe the things we do if we don't believe them ourselves." - Slydini
PeteMcEwen@mac.com
morgandollarman
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England
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Whateverisisright I decided against a deans set as I have quite a few morgan dollars so I was mainly after a s**ll to go with these and also wanted to keep the original size (thats my preference lol) so I looked at the options and had always fancied the TT also this uses an E[ so I thought that this will benifit me with all my morgans ,just a matter of picking the ones that fit.so I am getting more bang for the buck if you get my logic.So that's the only reason why I changed my mind I do have an EX [ but it was a cheap version and I woulden't use it on layman that's why I have gone to one of the craftsmen for a better quality gaff.Don't get me wrong I here johnson make good s***ls but mine is not much good so I prefer the best where possible.

Best
shaun.
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