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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Trick coin trickery » » How do you justify the price of gaff? (14 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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kenedho
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Hi all,

Recently I've been wondering if I should procure Come Fly With Me from Mason. But the price is obviously quite something. This naturally leads to a question:

How do you justify what is the right price for this gaff to yourself?

Obviously if when something is used over many paid performances the relative cost becomes insignificant over time. But this applies to everything and doesn't answer the question What is the right price. Also we can't split quantitatively how much that one 3Fly effect is worth relative to other effects in an act (unless you do just one effect in your act) so we can't actually gauge the return on investment from that one gaff.

Some may say the price is right when demand meets supply i.e. it is right when one is willing to sell and another willing to buy. But that dodges the question How to justify when that equilibrium is.

What are your views on this?

I'd also like to hear why you think some refer to CFWM as better, cleaner and more magical than any other 3Flys. To my understanding, it still has bad angles, it still cannot be examined, it's the same effect. So why some say it's better?

K.
warren
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K before spending your cash on expensive gimmicks allow me to share something with you.

Many moons ago when I used to do lots of corporate bookings I learned Daryl's 3fly 111, yes I altered it to suit my style a little but basically it served me well and never let me down but always thought how much better it would be if I purchased a certain gaff set from Bob Kohler. eventually I couldn't resist and so spent the cash on this expesive gimmicked 3 fly set on top of which I got stung with import tax making it even more expensive.

I played with it in the house for a short while but just couldn't get used to not being able to just reach into my pocket without concerning myself which coin was where etc and ended up selling it in less than a month and losing a lot of money on it in the process because of the added import tax.

I would that for me personally the first method I learn especially if its something I've put time and effort into and made my own such as with Daryl's 3 fly 111 is always what you end up going back to as it's like a comfort zone.

I used to always prefer to use regular coins when working and it stood me well for years, it's only now because of all the exposure that I use the odd gimmick here and there however because of the time I spent learning the sleight of hand methods first I am able to use the gimmicks in much more subtle ways.

Going back to cost though if its a hobby and your just performing for family and friends I would not splash out on expensive gimmicks as really there isn't any need to in my opinon.
funsway
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I largely agree with warren, but for different reasons. You may WANT a specific gaff, but do not NEED one - so the amount you invest in gaffs or special coins
is a function of personal desires rather than "better magic" or even "better entertainment."

Many consider me a "gaff" magician since I wrote "T.U.C. Appreciation" with more than 60 effects using this gaff. The only reason I got interested in the TUC
was my crippled hands prevented me from performing many tricks I ustacould. The TUC enables me to perform many effects I could not do otherwise.
I now do a 3Fly in which my hands never touch at all

That, and encouragement for MB and Tim Feher caused me not to give up on coin magic. Since then I have created dozens of new coin effect that require NO gaff.
I now have many new sleights in my quiver to replace both old sleights and the need for gaffs. I will agree that a gaff coin can often make the mastery easier. Is this better?
I still use a C/S often. I have several gaff coins as a collector because I appreciate the ingenuity and workmanship. I do not need any of them.

As to 3Fly effects, check out Scottish 3Fly that came out in 1994. It is a complete coin routine of which 3Fly is a part -- overcoming one of the flaws of that effect (speed).

My performing preference is to use found objects. I want a "coin across" technique that can be done with many objects other than coins such as candy, stones or sugar packets.
No gaffs there.

So, I am not against gaffed coins - love them? When it comes to cost (price) ...
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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Rick Holcombe
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I would also ask: what other effects can you use the gimmick for? Maybe you would come up with new effects, or altered handlings of some classic effects.

For me, I'm very comfortable with a certain version using a shell. The shell is very easily replaceable and is used in many other things I perform.

I made the mistake a few years ago of buying a $400 gaff (not a 3fly gaff). I loved it, but I only did one thing with it and was also very delicate with it because of how much it cost. A couple years went by and I sold it because I would play with it, but could never justify having that $400 just sitting there.
Poof-Daddy
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Mark Mason answered the OP's question for me a couple years ago when I bought the CFWM in 1921 Morgan Dollars. I believe his answer to me was "Hey, it's $400 for less than a minute of magic... But boy, it is a memorable minute to the spectator". I have known Mark for a long time and bought a lot from him over the years. He as always been straight with me and the quality has always been top notch. I still have my CFWM an I have created many "1 minute memories" with it.

There really is no "one answer" to justifying what one would be willing to pay for a gaff. Everybody's situation is different.
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J-Mac
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I have purchased a whole lot of gaffed coins but I mainly use just two: expanded shell and copper/silver coin. I also perform a few CSB routines so I have a handful of CSB sets, but for the most part I use only a shell or C/S coin. Otherwise I would be continually switching gaffs in and out.

Jim
kenedho
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I have my own version of 3 Fly that is a complete routine, pure SOH and is as good as, if not better than, many gaffed versions on the market - if I do say so myself... but if you have seen my videos you know I do things differently. What tempts me into a purchase is two-fold: (i) I can explore experimentations with a new object - much like funsway did with the TUC; (ii) I do want to make my life (handling) easier (though that'd make my wallet tighter!).

Saying that it creates a memorable minute to the spectator is a moot point, because one can be created with less than that price. And again, it doesn't answer why *that* price.

As a side topic, does anyone know if Eric Mead's 3Fly performance employs U3F or CFWM?
David Neighbors
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The only Reason To use a gaff Is if it Makes It Cleaner looking. Or More Magical Looking. Some gaff stuff Is just as Hard Or Harder Them some S.o.h. Stuff! And I think A combo of both Is at some times The best way to go. But that depends On the routine, The Look, Who your doing it for. the when, and the How!!! So there there is a lot That goes into it!!! Smile
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tonsofquestions
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When I think about gimmicks (coins specifically; cards are harder to judge for me, and I don't use much) I like to think about the time and effort that goes into making them, along with the materials/tools. I'll compare against mid-range prices here - no custom work.

So let's think about a C/S: it takes a coin of of each type ($3), 5 minutes on a lathe (when making in bulk) to slice them thin, some glue/drying time (call it 5 minutes, not counting waiting), and then a touch-up to make the edge even (another few minutes). I realize I'm way oversimplifying - good C/S coins have smoother transitions, cleaner edges, etc. But it gives a sense. You have to pay someone for their time, the packaging, and a retailer markup. But it's not really surprising that the cheap ones will go for $10-15.

How about a shell? The coin is $1 (I'm intentionally rounding up from $0.50), you have to squash it a bit (not too much!) and then you have to strip out the insides so it's hollow, but *again* not too much, or the edge disappears. So call it 30 minutes of work. But it's more specialized, and easier to screw up and you don't get to re-use the coin for something else if you do. $25 ish.

What about a Scotch & Soda? Well it's the two above coins, but now you have to make sure the sizes are just right. You have to test them, but you can also do the sizing of both together to save a little time. $35. Why isn't it more than the combination? Because I simplified and didn't mention that you don't have to expand, or make it fit over a normal coin (just the insert), so you don't have much extra work.

As an interesting aisde, the dime/penny sets are probably so much cheaper because the coins are a lot cheaper, and because they can mass produce them at a larger scale, so margins don't need to be as high.

Sure, some of these can be done with a CNC once at scale, but they still required research, and when you get to small batches/manufacturers (e.g. Bob Swaddling) prices go up a bit more. When you get to the significantly more niche stuff (CFWM, TUC, OxF, etc.) you get even more added on because of (a) wanting to keep things exclusive, and lower volumes of sales which increase individual item pricing. Think of all the coins/time they used when first developing the gaff! That's an even bigger factor for recently developed and/or novel gaffs (e.g. a split coin vs a C/S coin that's been around for ages).

Other things I like to consider: how versatile is it? Can I use the gaffs easily for other effects? There are many things you can do with a C/S coin, but only so many with, say, a bite coin. I value the former kind higher than the latter.

So let's go back to CFWM. I'm not entirely sure what's in the set, but I can make some guesses. It probably takes at least 6 coins, and maybe some m****ts. Sli***y shells are even more work than the regular ones, and I vaguely remember reading somewhere that it was lo***ng. That's a fair bit more time/work. Add in the higher margins for limited sales, and I don't think $150 would at all be unreasonable. But that's just the gaffs. You're also paying for instructions, the CFWM routine (rights to perform it?) and some other stuff. Often instruction-only DVDs will run for $20-$40 of dollars. I'm not judging if that's fair, just that it's the going rate. $200 is a pricey set, but an understandable price, for a back of the napkin calculation. It retails for $325, but you can find it for $250. Again, I'm not clear on what's included, so I don't know how hard it would be to re-routine, or what else you'd be able to do with them.

Is it worth it? That's a decision only you can make for yourself. But perhaps that helps you with some additional ways to think about the question.
inigmntoya
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Well said tonsofquestions.
I'd also 2nd Funsway's comment about desire vs need.
And who's going to argue with David Neighbors about coin stuff? Smile
David Neighbors
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Thanks Inigmntoya Smile
David Neighbors



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Senor Fabuloso
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Combining some gimmicks with sleights works wonders. I was once fooled very badly with nothing more than a hook coin. Those were the days.
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kenedho
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So, leveraging the mighty cumulative knowledge about gaff coins here on the Café, what other effects would you consider possible with the CFWM gaffs? Surely if we price that single item based on versatility we should come up with loads...
J-Mac
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It's not appropriate to discuss the gaff(s) included with CFWM, and it is difficult to discuss other effects without that info.

Jim
David Neighbors
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I have A full Book Of Stuff With The Locking half Shell! That is Half Of a CFWM ! Smile So for those Just don't use the other Half !
David Neighbors



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jakeg
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I would much rather use a gimmick than a slight. Keep in mind that if done correctly, your audience doesn’t know the difference, and a gimmick will open the door to many impossibilities.
I also feel that anyone who considers the purchase af any gimmick as an ‘investment’ is kidding himself. If you want it, if you’re convinced that you’ll use it, buy it. You’re entitled to your toys. It’s only an investment if tou buy it for the purpose of selling it for a profit.
warren
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Quote:
On Jan 9, 2018, jakeg wrote:
I would much rather use a gimmick than a slight. Keep in mind that if done correctly, your audience doesn’t know the difference, and a gimmick will open the door to many impossibilities.
I also feel that anyone who considers the purchase af any gimmick as an ‘investment’ is kidding himself. If you want it, if you’re convinced that you’ll use it, buy it. You’re entitled to your toys. It’s only an investment if tou buy it for the purpose of selling it for a profit.


Wow I'm actually the complete opposite and it's only due to magic exposure that I now use the odd gimmick ( talking of which I had an order finally arrive off Todd Lassen today so I'm really happy especially as it got sent to the wrong address at one point )
DaveGripenwaldt
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For me it comes down to one thing...is it, for whatever reason, worth it to you. Because different people will buy things with different perspectives.

A professional might look at a trick and ask, "is it worth the price to get a great 5 minutes in my act?". A hobbiest might love the toy-fun factor of a prop. Someone on a limited budget will consider price. Maybe someone to whom money is not an issue may just love that he was fooled and can't wait to fool someone else. Different perspectives..different elements that go into the decision making...but at the end of the day, its simply a matter if you'd be happy to have it.
tonsofquestions
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Quote:
On Jan 9, 2018, jakeg wrote:
I would much rather use a gimmick than a slight. Keep in mind that if done correctly, your audience doesn’t know the difference, and a gimmick will open the door to many impossibilities.


I'm also with warren on this one. Less switching out of stuff, can be done with any coin/object if you don't have your gaffs (or are around a different currency), and you can stop any time if you have a grabby spectator.

Quote:
On Jan 9, 2018, jakeg wrote:
I also feel that anyone who considers the purchase af any gimmick as an ‘investment’ is kidding himself. If you want it, if you’re convinced that you’ll use it, buy it. You’re entitled to your toys. It’s only an investment if tou buy it for the purpose of selling it for a profit.


I'm not sure I agree here, either. I don't think of the "investment" in this sense as "going to make money from it", but some coins will keep their resale value (most of Lassen's stuff, for example), so you can at least get your money back if you end up deciding you didn't use it enough. That's significantly less likely if you, say, buy a standard flipper - as indicated by recent threads in the for sale forum. Nothing in magic (OK, some, but extremely few) will *increase* in value. Most will drop sharply, while some will mostly hold their value.

Instead, it's "investment" as in "how much will I be able to use it" - can I use it as a routine in enough of my gigs/strolling/etc. and/or will it be memorable enough to justify the cost. Use it once a year and have it in the drawer for the rest, not so much. Use it five times a day when working - big (personal) value.

I believe the latter is the meaning Ken had meant in his original post.
funsway
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As a sidebar on "investment." Years ago I ordered a set of English Pennies with Slider for $25. No one else seemed to want them. The seller said he would toss in a couple of other, random coins from around the world he used to use for various effects. One of those was a bit larger than a dollar and heavy. With the help of Etienne I found it was an Indonesian coin of silver worth $123. I notified the seller and he said,"Magic happens everywhere" and did not want it back.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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