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kwarren
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Can anyone tell me if restoring an old magic trick kills its value?
Restoring a vintage musical instrument will destroy the value but I've never of this in the magic community.

Thanks,

Kirk
makeupguy
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Kirk.. it really depends on the prop.

if it's an antique prop inspired by the old Hoffman books, and built around the same time, I'd say leave it.

if it's a simple wooden prop from MAK or another builder from the 60's, I'd say restore it to working condition, or refinish to your liking entirely. I would venture to say that a functional prop is worth more to any magician than a broken piece that's not really good for anything but functional magic.

Sadly, some of the most beautiful props around.. OWEN.. have dropped in value by 60% the last few years. I'm not going to speculate that old P&L, or old Thayer props might have done the same.
Wizard of Oz
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You're so right makeupguy. I noticed the same trend with other manufacturer's as well, but I keep reminding myself that magic, like other collectibles, has ebbs and flows. So, I keep to my no. 1 rule and only collect what I love. That way, it's always priceless to me.
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
StevieDee
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I was recently at the New England Magic Collectors Association Gathering. The buzz there was that props were declining in price because many of the older collectors are starting to sell down their collections.
Dick Oslund
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Right Make up, Wiz and Stevie!

Since 1985, I've sold (Collector's Weekend, etc.) about $35,000 worth of "stuph". (Props, books, posters)

I have some nice items left, but, with the economic situation, and the point that Stevie made, I'm not going to "dump" them.

Make up guy! I sgree! I wouldn't THINK of repainting my HAMILTON Westgate Bowl (or JoAnn!) I have an old Abbott, CHROME on brass, Foo Can. It's not "P & L", but, to an Abbott collector, it's worth "something"! (I showed it to Greg Bordner. He said< "We never made anything that good!" I have a Fred Catiller THIRTY-TWO CALIBER shooting wand (like new). I'm in no hurry! My P&L Glass of water thru hat, takes up only a little space on the shelf. When I'm a little older, (I'm only 82) I may decide to dispose of them!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
MentalistCreationLab
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Over the last few years I been following this trend and I can tell you this.

Lets look at 2 pieces both related to doves one by Milson Worth and the other by Walt Sheppard. Here we see fine examples from both bringing good money. We also see examples not so fine bringing about 25% -40%. Then we see the so called restored examples. Which may bring anywhere from low $20.00 to about the 30% of mint examples but only when the restoration was as good or if not better than the original.

Now with other makers stuff sometimes the restored model is better than the original and sometime these examples bring a small premium over a mint example. Only when the restoration was better than the original.

I also see piece with repaired parts and items with replaced or rebuilt sections case is nest of boxes sometimes one or more of the boxes were remade. Still do okay.

So the question is is this a restoration to make the prop usable again, preservation, or was it a nice piece and the owner preferred poorly pained ducks on the front of it instead of keeping it original and worth something?

From what I have seen at the auctions it may be better to build a copy for your own use and leave the original alone.

Now in antique furniture leave it alone. I seen a guy destroy a shaker dresser he found in a barn. Covered in chicken poo. My guy would have paid $15000 for it covered in poo. The dealer was asking $2500.00 for his so called restored piece. My guy passed and said you can not fix that kind of damage. Often the best choice is to leave it alone.

I got in my collection a very early three light monte that is rough at best but I not touching it.
In fact I kinda like the fact its rough. As it now tells a story.
kwarren
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The main reason I posted this question was; I found an old trick called "Cube In A Tube." I haven't purchased it yet but it's being held for a short time while I decide what to do.
It's actually not in that bad a shape for its age but I though a little touch up paint sure would make it look nice. However, after reading the responses here, I think it best to leave it as it is...if I do buy it.
Michael Baker
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I have been called upon to restore a number of vintage pieces. Of course the final decision is up to the owner of the piece, but I will always make recommendations after finding out the real goal. Value takes on many forms. If the owner considers the item an investment, with the intent of eventually selling for profit (or as close to that as the market will bear), then I suggest leaving it as original as is practical. I have though, seen some pieces where the present condition was hardly worth anything, and a restoration could actually increase the value.

In other cases, the owner intends to display the piece, and prefers to have a collection that appears in excellent condition, rather than one filled with dilapidated props, in spite of their historical significance. In such cases, I will discuss the pros and cons, at least so they can make an informed decision. The nature of collecting is usually such that the better pieces are already in the hands of people who know magic history, so their choices for such matters are usually based in solid reasoning.

Then, there are those who actually want to use the prop. The value to them is in the prop's ability to both function and appear at least presentable. If they are intending to perform for pay, then the prop may very well have a greater value through that use, than as a collectible sitting in some dark corner of a magician's den.

Age, rarity, and present condition are all determining factors. "Cube in a Tube" is a fairly common prop. There are lots of them out there, and I have several in my own collection. Supreme Magic sold the first ones, and the creator, Arthur Setterington was also British. I haven't checked, but I think the trick dates back to the 1950s (but so do I Smile). Abbott's also sold them, although I don't know how that deal transpired. They have also been made by a couple other makers outside the USA in recent times.

Even an original, excellent condition Cube in a Tube is not going to make the owner rich on resale value. The odds of that changing, might take 100 years to come about. Is your legacy going to be the prop, or your ability to entertain with it? If it were mine, I would have no problems (if I intended to actually use it) restoring it, by any respected means (nice paint job, etc.). I know other magic restorers that think the same way.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
kwarren
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When buying magic, I don't really think of it as an investment. Though I do have a number of rare and valuable pieces in my collection, I don't ever plan to sell them off. I want to enjoy them all my life.

Where "Cube in a Tube" is concerned, I do want it to look nice displayed on the shelf but I also want it to be functional.

Even though I'm not really into the distressed vintage look, I have never had a piece restored (yet) because it looked as such.
Michael Baker
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If this restoration is merely cosmetic and not structural, you can easily do this yourself. There have been some in-depth discussions on painting right here in the Workshop. Some of the best magic builders in the world are frequent visitors here.

It would help if you can post some detail photos of the prop and describe your goals. You are likely to get some good advice.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Powermagic
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So I just came across two Westgate Water bowls. The paint is cracking, From a a few feet you cant tell but my first thought was to refinish. I am still not clear if I should refinish them or not. I don't know how common they are. I have rarely seen them. I could , with a little care, match the paint job 98%. I think it does come down to what to collectors consider more important, original paint or not. I mean, these are nearly perfect other than the cracking paint. However I have not seen what collectors have . Maybe ALL of them of that age have cracked due to the type of paint used then. I would also wonder what collectors hold most important as in the furniture world it seems the original paint is key over looks. Many a stripped and refinished piece, according to Antiques Road Show,has suffered hundreds if not thousands reduction of value due to refinishing.
However, they do always say, if you are going to keep it and like it refinished, go for it. but it seemed like the big ticket items would have been worth so much more if they left it cracked and faded.
I understood with metal magic items, patina was less important. But as far as painted items. I am not sure what collectors would look for.
Bill Hegbli
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A person just showed me a Jo Ann Duck, original, it was not stored properly, thus the paint has cracked and checked and stated curling. To leave a wood item is unprotected from the elements will just destroy the wood underneath. It could suffer from wood rot and moisture damage. For me, damaged wood is worth nothing as the whole piece would have to be rebuilt.

I rebuilt my Taylor suit case table. Using better wood and better glues. I used the original hardware, and built it exactly as the original. I did want to make some improvements, so it would be more functional, but let is as originally built.

Supreme Magic's paint jobs were the worse. In less then a year, the paint would check do to not cleaning the wood before painting.

I have a Supreme Fall-A-Part Stool, that actually fell apart on the 1st use. It had to be rebuilt from scratch for it to be any use at all.

My bid is to restore magic products to working condition. Make stencils or want ever you need to bring it back to being a useful prop.

I would never spend any money on broken junk, no matter how old it was. The Taylor table was given to me in pieces, served the owner for over 20 years of magic shows. Some owners have no desire to repair and protect magic props. Storing props below 55 degrees is just destroying the work put into making it. Storing above 80 degrees is just as bad.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
illusionman2
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I found this on the internet https://hocuspoc.wordpress.com/2010/07/ it looks great now he used correct paint color stock numbers as well as the original template for the geometric girl for the front, but he did strip back to bare wood. Also what do you think a fair price would be for the prop in that condition and what is a fair price to pay it to be refurbish and what do you think it worth now.
RVH Magic
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"I have a Supreme Fall-A-Part Stool, that actually fell apart on the 1st use. It had to be rebuilt from scratch for it to be any use at all."

That doesn't sound like an Original Fall-A-Part Stool build by Supreme, their material is top-notch!
The legs are supposed to fall off ;-)
Bill Hegbli
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Quote:
On Mar 19, 2015, RVH Magic wrote:
"I have a Supreme Fall-A-Part Stool, that actually fell apart on the 1st use. It had to be rebuilt from scratch for it to be any use at all."

That doesn't sound like an Original Fall-A-Part Stool build by Supreme, their material is top-notch!
The legs are supposed to fall off ;-)


No Supreme wood work is not the best in assembly or paint. They use those nail staples to put it together and very skimpy on the glue. The little thin kid sat down on it and it went fell over straight on the floor. The sides all pulled out and away form the top. The only thing I could save was the legs and release board, and one screw.

If they would have use more glue and reinforced the joints, it might have survived. But quarter inch plywood had not chance at hold those legs in.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
Powermagic
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Quote:
On Mar 17, 2015, illusionman2 wrote:
I found this on the internet https://hocuspoc.wordpress.com/2010/07/ it looks great now he used correct paint color stock numbers as well as the original template for the geometric girl for the front, but he did strip back to bare wood. Also what do you think a fair price would be for the prop in that condition and what is a fair price to pay it to be refurbish and what do you think it worth now.

What I don't understand was what was the original paint? Was it as he refinished it? Did someone paint over it or was just the maker the same. I would say that changes he value. Most would say original paint is worth more when it comes to collecting.

Here we have an issue. To have it signed by Wilson changes the value. Without it, it might not be worth as much as it was refinished. But since Wilson gives it the stamp of approval, it goes up in value.

I have no clue what used magic illusion sell for of that size. it always comes down to history and rarity and condition. the more rare the more broken and beat up they seem to accept. But other collectors just want something cool to show off so restore something for looks. It will always have to be sold as refinished.
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