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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Nothing up my sleeve... » » A question for U.K. coin workers. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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John McCormack
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Hello,

What coins do you use for magic, do you use our regular coins here or do you use half dollars and english Pennies for close up, in both professional performances and impromptu performances?
I would rather use U.S.1/2$'s and English Pennies for obvious reasons, but won't the spectators think it's a little weird your using American coins? If you do then how do you get around the fact that your using American coins, do you have them examined? Or do you (assuming you present yourself as a sleight-of-hand artist) explaine that they are better for sleights et? Chinese coins would be a good option as they are different and interesting and you can patter around them along with other foriegn coins.
What are you thoughts on this,

Thanks,

John.
GothicBen
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I use half dollars and old english Pennies. If I'm asked (and I rarely am), I say I use them because they're easier to see than 10ps and 2ps. Then I'll say "You know how it is, those 5ps are like toy money!"

A good laugh later and I do my stuff.

Ben
alex cahill
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ok i use half dollars usually and english Pennys. however for vanishes, muscle passes finger rolls and palms the £2 coin works fine
eddieloughran
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Hi,
we have to use half dollars and old Penneys because they are the same size. As Ben says they are easily explaned but if I need to borrow a coin , to bite or stick a cig. through I'v got to change to current tender. A real nuisance.
The only answer is to drop tricks which use a c/s coin, then use english money. Lots of dealers offer current shells, etc.
I have an old Penney/ old 10p c/s but its no better.
Just carry on as we are or drop c/s
Eddie
Andy G
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You know if you are desparate to do c/s with UK currency you could have a 10p 2p c/s made by reducing the diameter of the 2p and/or expanding the 10p. Todd Lassen or Peter Crush could probably make one for you. Visually the slightly odd size of the coin is not noticeable especially if the coin is isolated. I experimented by taking a 10p and painting the heads side brown. I scrapped the idea cause the paint kept chipping off, but I even fooled myself cause I keep finding 2p's around my flat, only to turn them over and find they are 10's.
John McCormack
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Thanks for the replies,

I don't use any gaffs at all, I enjoy practicing coin sleights and flourishes, the weight size and shape of the coins are perfect for palms, Spellbound moves/routines, as Ben said they're easier to see, the Roll Down Coin Flourish and Muscle Pass among other things are more or less impossible with 10p's & 2'p's, and I like to keep everything copper/silver if I can and only introduce forigne coins if I have a plausible explanation, a story or what have you. That's why I posted this question, to see if anyone else has a plausible explanation for using U.S.1/2$'s and EP's. To me pure sleight-of-hand with coins (and cards) is a thing of beauty (I do a lot of visual and fancy stuff, flourishes and that) and want the best tools for my job, if you're an impromptu performer (coins are very impromptu) then borrowing coins would be suited there. I prefer to look a little more classy (I claime no magical powers, I present myself as a sleight-of-hand artist, which is what I do) so if I taht's what I am and that's what I do then it seems fine to use my own props (very few though) which are suited best to the job. You woulden't expect pianist to borrow a piano if he/she were requested to perform, only on occasions, which I am also able to do. But it's highly unlikley that I wont have my things, I don't carry a lot just a deck of Bicycle cards and four halfs and maybe four Pennies depending on how I'm feeling, I don't have to load myself with gimmicks and packet tricks or make decisions on what I will take every time I leave the house.
I have nothing against this approch, I'm just tired of doing that and love sleight-of-hand and it suits my presentation along with other reasons.

Any other thoughts are welcome,

John.
david walsh
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It wasn't so long ago that I would never perform anything without using our own currency. I then came up with a presentation (that will remain my own for now) for spellbound that not only covered the use of foreign and old coins, but made them necessary.

When showing this presentation I realised that what I had heard so many times before was infact true, any coins may be used if given good reason. I have since found that my coin magic has improved due to not having to fiddle around with little coins, I have also found that showing an interest in the coins can be enough to justify their use. I tend to tell a little (very little) of the history of a coin as it is introduced, if I show a walking liberty half dollar I find it enough to point out that these coins today are no longer made from silver and this older one actually contains 90% silver. I find that if people have the impresion that you are interested in old and foriegn coins they can see that it is the only reason you are using them. In general I find that most people can identify with your interst when they see a walking liberty half or an old George the fifth Penny for the first time (or even the first time in thirty years), Chinees coins as mentioned before need less justification due to their larger curiosity values.

I have also found that some gaffed effects do have to be done with a borrowed coin, this obviously means that the coins will have to be local currency and switched in, with this I mean really strong stuff like coin through bottle and cig through coin.

I have also had a great deal of sucsess in making UK C/S coins, I have two ways. One is to get a 2p shell (not expanded) and a 10p, the 10p is sanded flat on one side with emery paper, it is then glued inside the shell, the edge of the shell is then filed off with jewelers files.

This results in a C/S coin the size of the smaller silver one, if you want one in between the size of the two coins it will cost more money.

You need an expanded 10p shell and the cut down coin that comes inside a 2p shell that is not expanded, on lining these up you will find that they are the same diameter. All you need to do is sand one face of the 2p flat and sand the edges off of the expanded shell until it is a flat disk. These are then glued together to give a nice sized C/S coin that requires no machinery to make.
David.
eddieloughran
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Hi John,
I think you misunderstood my earlier mail. By not using a c/s you are free to use any coins. Half crowns and 2 shilling coins are very cheap, but more important, are well worn, while american coins in england are usually very unworn.
As others have said above, you can just point out that you are using a copper and a silver coin and don't bother explaning.
'' my uncle was in the navy and when he died I found these in the back of a drawer'' is another.
'' An american magician gave me this, its an american half dollar. I know it looks cheap but----- ''
I use an old cup of my sons with a picture of simple simon on for a wild coin. After reminding the spectators of the story I point out '' I haven't a Penney either, just these american coins, but I'm a magician and can change this one for an old-english-pie-buying-penney.'' I change them. Show them to of changed back. '' And I still don't have a pie''
'' Who's the geatest british magician '' I ask. '' Some say Paul Daniels, or David Nixon , Peter Firman even, but the greatest was a scotsman, from Ayr, John Ramsay. He's been gone 40 years now but he would perform this trick 100 years ago with coins like these.''
You wanted some ideas. Hope these help.
Do americans now about simple simon ?
Eddie
John McCormack
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David,

Your post reminded me of an effect I saw Casino Coins, exellent, examinable and has a good/plausible story/explanation.

I also thought of an interesting and plausible explanation just now, "Before I was a magician I used to collect coins", then I could bring out any paticular coin(s) with a short (I mean short) intro/story or what have you explaining what the coin(s) is/are and where it's/they're from and whatever else including how I got them.
I'll just have to think how I can make it fit my presentation.

Thanks for the description of the c/s but as I said I don't use gaffs, Coin in Bottle is good but I'm not sure about Cig Thru Coin, unless you use Derren Brown's idea of switicng the coin it's just another trick coin along with that Bitten Coin, perish the thought.

Thanks again,

John. Smile

Or I took a recent trip to the U.S. and found that these coins are better suited to conjuring purposes.

I've never left England but they don't have to know that.

John.
david walsh
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Here is something I meant to add to the last post and forgot.

After having first heard of the Coin Alchemy effect I liked the idea that this could help give reason for using certain coins, and not just for the effect mentioned. The half dollar (being made of silver) and the older coins being purer (blag) making the alchemst's methods of old possible to demonstrate.

I have not yet dabbled with this, it does however bring to mind somthing I heard from Michael Ammar, It was to do with spell bound and having the coins changing material but not denomination.

As for putting across the personal interest in old and foriegn coins, I personaly don't like to point it out, I just like to hint at it and let them realise for them selfs. This is all down to the individuals style though.
David.
John McCormack
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Well, if you feel passionate about the coins you are using and handle them well then they should get the idea.

Thanks,

John.
Doogie
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I'm an American living in the UK. I use Liberty Walking Halves, and have never been questioned, other than people being interested in coins themselves. I think they are very beautiful, and they always get nice comments from spectators.
John McCormack
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That's easy for you to say Doogie, your American and I'm assuming you have an American accent so the spectators will obviously realise you've come from the U.S.
So the fact that you've lived there doesn't suprise them you still have some half dollars.
I do agree though that half dollars are very beautiful coins and suit the elegant, smooth handling and flourishes that I practice with them.

Liberty Walking Halfs, aren't they older and more costly than Kennedy Halfs? There's not really a big difference aside from the pic on the coin is there?

Do you use English Pennies as well or any other forigne coins?

Thanks,

John.
david walsh
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I find John to be right Doogie, If I don't offer a hint at the justification for the half dollars people do want to see them, this is not a bad thing but a lot of the time it's like, what are you doing with them? could you do it with my coins?

I imagine, just like John that your accent is doing the justification for you.
David.
Doogie
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Accent? What accent? Smile . You're both right, I have a slight advantage in that area. I will occasionally use an old English Penny, but only the more mature crowd of Brits seem to remember these coins. I've got coins from all over the world (comes with the job), but stick mostly with Liberty halves.

Walking Liberty halves are made from real silver, same size, weight as Kennedy halves. You can get them at most coin shops in the US. Here in England its another story. I went to every coin shop in London, and found a total of three coins. Had to get my stash from relatives in the states. You can always find them on EBAY.
John McCormack
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Hello,

It isn't the fact that I'm afraid that they will ask why do I have the coins, I'm much more botherd if they didn't because then the everlasting effect in the spectators minds is completely unknown to me. I don't want them to go away without a logical explanation for everthing that happens (aside from actual methods, which I tell them it's sleight-of-hand one way or another), every little nuance has to be accounted for in my opinion, including my performace persona, I try to present myself as a sleight-of-hand artist and believe that the way I handle the deck and coins and along with my choice of routines/effects and my persona, it just doesn't say gimmickery, I hope.

How do you feel about having them look after, examine or even keep the coins, would the latter be too costly and just pointless? Would having them look after the coins before your act and during your card routines lead to the coins getting mis treated worn and dirty or even lost or stolen? And as for examineing them how do you go about this, I'm a little worried about dead time and losing their attention if it's an opening effect, especially with walk around, if you open with a quick coin effect to get their attention you have to do something and do it quick, there isn't time for examination before and it just seems weird opening with a coin trick using American halfs.
I think the best thing I can do is present myself as a sleight-of-hand artist and tell them (not with words, unless it's necessary) that everything is pure sleight-of-hand by the way I handle the coins and cards, by my choice of routines/effects and by the way I act, my persona, like I said above.
As for examination, I'll use effects that allow them to handle the coins, so there's no dead time because I'm in the middle of an effect yet they get to handle (examine) the coins.
And maybe a nice flourish or two to show a little skill (or grace and beauty rather).

What approch do take?

John. Smile
bigdunk007
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where can I purchase scotch and soda using english coins from? Smile
Stick Man
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I use 2ps and 10ps and sometimes the odd £2coin, people don't carry these often though
david walsh
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John,

While letting people keep a coin as a momento sounds great, personally I wouldn't let them, as doogie sais they are hard enough to get hold of.

Scotty York lets people keep Hungarian bank notes that are no longer in use.

As for having them look after the coins, I personally would think that it would portray thoughts such as "why has he got me looking after these, why should I have to". I recon that a good justifacation should give enough reason for them not to suspect them.

However, being interesting and unusual coins, it is likely that people will want to see them, just not for suspicious reasons. I agree with having them handle the coins through the routine to help build a little familiarity, Unless the coins have been vanished I like to let people have a good look at the coins afterwards if they ask, simply leaving them in thier hands at the end lets them know this and they don't even have to go as far as asking.

I also heard an interesting point from a magician on another site, He mentioned that he liked his coins to be as unusal and forien to the audience as possible. His reasons were along the lines of wanting people to be curios and wanting them to handle these coins.
David.
John McCormack
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That is the perfect excuse for using foreign coins. But are American Half dollars foreign enough to get this response? Now I need to find some suitable size Chinese, Indian and other foreign coins. These will surely get the spactators attention, thus resulting in them wanting to see them and examine them.

Any other thoughts/ideas?

John.
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