Tag: Coin Magic

Where You Been Magic Man?

Inside Magic Library Cover Page for Happy Hollisters and the Perfect FarosWe have been off-line for more than a week as we tried to magically make our new phone work.

It turns out the whole thing comes down to cards.  When you get a new phone with our carrier, you must have the correct card; the SIM card that is.

We didn’t have it.  We had something that looked like a SIM card that we found on Santa Monica Blvd. near where Barney’s Beanery is located past where the International House of Pancakes sits.  It was slightly covered with syrup as if someone had been holding it in their sticky fingers and yet their fingers were not sticky enough — a common magician problem for folks of our advanced age.

So we figured, why pay for a SIM card when we had a perfectly good one if we could clean it up right.

There was a part of us that said we should bring it back to the IHOP and turn it in as lost property.  But we didn’t cuz it looked like it had been there for a while and we really needed one for our phone.

We cleaned it with a diluted mixture of Dawn (good enough for oil covered marine animals, good enough for SIM card covered with syrup) and warm water.  We dried it with the side of our jeans (the outside) and pushed it into the SIM Slot (ironically, that was the name of our first slot machine that we tried to sell in Vegas, but failed).  It fit.  All was good with the world.

We worked on the project for days.  We could not get it to work.  We were too embarrassed to bring it back to the location between Barneys and IHOP but we needed our phone to work.  We found the phone in a trash bin we were diving looking for interesting menus of local restaurants that delivered.  It was inside a well-damaged suitcase.  We left the clothes (except for the bandana — a good magician can’t have too many bandanas and we’re not even that good but still have the need).  It was dark so we didn’t know if the phone was cracked but turns out it wasn’t.

We reset the phone because of the thousands of pictures on the phone.  Nothing untoward just cats and more cats.  There was one picture of a cat in a tiger Halloween get-up and he/she did not look happy so we didn’t even save that one.

Bottom line: we got a practically new phone, some bandanas and a chance to talk to our carrier’s customer service desk.  We know that everyone complains about customer service chat sessions but we cannot in this instance.  The helper helped and real quick like.  She did some magic to make the SIM card come to life, make the phone work with the SIM so we could post on InsideMagic.com and make phone calls.

We have no one to call except for the Magic Castle to make reservations but it did that with aplomb.  Speaking of which, the desert dish aplomb is not commonly known by most restaurants and not at the Magic Castle.  They asked if we meant “a plumb” — which they did not have anyway — but we corrected them.  They politely said there was no such dish available on their menu and the chef would not be able to “whip one up” as we asked.

Life is now good.  We can post to InsideMagic.com.  We learned how to clean a SIM card.  We found a great take-out menu to a restaurant that serves only desserts  (they have not heard of aplomb either) and we have a newish phone.  It is a flip phone but that’s okay.  It still is able to take and show pictures so we’ll have pertinent artwork to display on the InsideMagic.com site.

All has come together well.

By the way, we bought two different sets of Scotch and Soda.  We like one more than the other but are trying to figure out how to describe the differences without exposing the trick.  Once we do, we’ll share a review here with glossy images from our phone.

That’s the latest.  We hope you didn’t miss us too much.  We definitely missed you.  In the interim, we hope  you checked out our Twitter feed at @insidemagic.  We try to update it several times a day and always magic related content.

We’re Selling our Lassen Expanded Set

Inside Magic Image of First Illustration from T. Nelson Downs' Modern Coin Manipulation - Now Available at Inside MagicOur loss will be someone’s gain.  We have put up our beautifully hand-crafted Todd Lassen Expanded Morgan set.  Made from uncirculated 1921 Morgan Silver Dollars, the set cost us more than $400 but is now available on ebay with a Buy It Now Price of $375.00 and a starting price of just $50.00.  Such a deal.  Such a wonderful set for the professional coin magician.

Check out the auction here.

T. Nelson Downs’ Modern Coin Manipulation – Magic Work in Progress

Inside Magic Image of First Illustration from T. Nelson Downs' Modern Coin Manipulation - Now Available at Inside MagicSeveral months ago, we published an article about T. Nelson Downs' adopted hometown celebrating his part in their history. Researching the story got us thinking and researching and reading.

That's a lot for a bear with little brains, as AA Milne noted. So it took us a lot longer than we expected to get where we are now. And where exactly are we?

We have read, re-read and corrected our distillation of the several copies of Mr. Downs' Modern Coin Manipulation floating about the public domain realm of the interwebs. None of the publicly available and public domain versions of the book were ready for publication. There were pages missing, headings applied incorrectly and very poor scanning performed. Our various attempts to run optical character recognition scans met with failure due to one or more of these flaws.

Our solution was to purchase some pretty sophisticated OCR, image and books assembly software. We were able to stitch together images from different scanned versions into one document ready for OCR and assembly. Still, we wanted to do more. Mr. Downs' book has historical references throughout that need to be chased. For instance, he begins the book with a defense of his position that he was the true inventor of the Back Palm.

He provides the place and time for his first public use of this essential sleight and suggests that those who claim to have invented the move are wrong or disingenuous. His use of the sleight was to hide and produce coins as part of his Miser's Dream routine. But he notes that other magicians use the same move for card effects.

Speaking of The Miser's Dream, Mr. Downs dedicates substantial portion of the book to teaching this classic act. His instruction is outstanding and the images are very helpful but if one hopes to duplicate his success with the act based on a quick reading and memorization of the script, that one will be frustrated and sad.

The moves taught are knuckle-busters plus. Perhaps part of his motive in writing this book was to dissuade would-be imitators from starting. If you are just starting in Magic or have worked as a professional for decades, this book will have something for you. You may not yet have the skills to perform everything but you will find something to fit your routine with a little practice.

Robert Browning was clearly speaking of magicians when he wrote, "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp / Or what's a heaven for?"

We will put T. Nelson Downs' Modern Coin Manipulation in the Inside Magic Library for those who would like a copy. The version will be revised periodically to include annotations and cross-references. Let us know if you find any problems with this or later editions. Enjoy!

Coin Magic Legend T. Nelson Downs Celebrated

As reported this morning in the very same newspaper that a century earlier crowned him “King of Koins,” Marshalltown, Iowa honors T. Nelson Downs with a new public mural.

The Times-Republican article provides a great thumbnail sketch of the magician and favorite son of Marshalltown.

The mural is part of the town’s development initiative to “beautify downtown and acknowledge the area’s celebrated history.”

Magicians know T. Nelson Downs (we can’t get used to calling him “Tommy”) as a prolific inventor and performer of great renown. The mural may tease non-magicians into learning more about this exceptional man.

After touring the world and authoring two books likely on your bookshelf as you read this (Modern Coin Manipulation and The Art of Magic), he retired to Marshalltown in 1912 where he managed the Lyric Theater on Main Street. He opened a vaudeville-movie theater just down the block from the Lyric.

T. Nelson Downs, like all magicians we know, got in trouble for distracting his fellow student in class.

Marshalltown writer Lori Wildman uncovered a note from one of the young magician’s teachers.

The unnamed instructor wrote: “Tommy Downs you may stay after school and write 100 times ‘I must not fool away my time in school,’ referring to his first attempts at conjuring in the classroom. About 20 years later the same teacher congratulated Downs on his fine talent backstage at a Los Angeles performance.”
Continue reading “Coin Magic Legend T. Nelson Downs Celebrated”

Schoolcraft Quarter Flipper at eBay

Another plug for an eBay sale.  We wonder how this qualifies as news?

Check out the newly reduced price for the Buy It Now Option on eBay now! (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=190447534042)

The Flipper Quarter is Sold Out on the Schoolcraft Store.  If you want one, this may be your best chance.

If you are not a Magician — you likely do not know what a flipper coin is or why one would want it.  If you are a Magician — you know exactly what a flipper coin is, why you would want it, and how disappointing most coins are.

PLEASE NOTE: The image of the two coins overlapped is the gimmicked set but the set we are selling is a 1999 Connecticut with the tree (Nutmeg?) on the back.

I have uploaded a picture of the reverse of the actual coin just now.
If you are a Magician who works around real people in real settings, you have probably always wanted a flipper quarter.  The gimmick usually comes as a half-dollar or dollar coin.  This is because the technology into making the weight and force work is too far advanced for mere mortal gimmicked coin manufacturers.
You can not "grind out" a quarter version of the flipper coin.  It probably could not be automated.  The task takes time and patience to make it look perfect — suitable for audiences within arms' length — but also work perfect and perfectly every time. 

The Schoolcraft Flipper is an extremely well-made gimmicked coin that can allow a magician to perform pretty amazing effects with little or no sleight of hand.  We are not going to give the secret away.  Besides, if you are a magician, you already know.
The Schoolcraft Flipper coin differs from traditional Flipper coins in three ways:

1. The coin opens via gravity. This means no shaking.  Pick it up and use it.  And once it closes, it stays closed as you continue with your effect.
2. When open, the coin can lay flat on your hands or on a table surface. This means, you can pick it up, and set it back down in the open position without any bizarre hand moves. 
3. There is no visible rubber band — it is internal. An internal rubber band means the gaff can withstand reasonable scrutiny from the side.

The Schoolcraft Flipper coin has been sold to many inventive magicians in the last two years.
This is a great opportunity to purchase a brand new gaff at a great price.

We are not worthy: Schoolcraft 3CF for Sale

The Author with His 3CF from Schoolcraft CoinsWe put up our Schoolcraft 3CF for sale on eBay.  We are not worthy.

Here is the ad for Jamie Schoolcraft’s 3CF coin set:

The 3CF is an original Schoolcraft creation.   The 3CF is everything the 3CM is and more!  This gimmick is basically an all-in-one gaff.  The outer most shell is expanded, so you can use it with regular coins. 

The middle shell is Deans Set sized, so it will work with the Deans Sets.  And lastly the magnetic insert coin is also a magnetic flipper.  Giving you four coins that will all go into one.  The magnetics are perfectly balanced just like the 3CM gimmick, and the entire unit is lined with industrial grade Teflon. 

There are several artists currently working on routines for this new unique gaff.  There are some exciting additions to this gaff also coming in the near future. The 3CF is a 3CM, Magnetic Flipper Coin, Shimmed Shell/Magnetic Flipper Combo, and an Expanded shell all rolled into one compact gaff.  Giving you endless routine possibilities!!

How great are Jamie Schoolcraft’s coin sets?  They are so great that we do not deserve them.  We have skills and we can handle much of what is taught in Bobo’s Coin Magic but there is little chance you’ll see our coin routine in Vegas – unless it is in a contest at one of the many conventions.  And we do believe anyone performing close-up should use the best props available and necessary to achieve the intended effect.  So, by our logic, we should keep the coin set.  Unfortunately, logic doesn’t thrive in our skull; it is drowned by floods of emotion and scorched by the searing sun of self-doubt. 

Is the Schoolcraft 3CF the finest piece of equipment we have ever owned?  Yes.  Do we deserve it? No.

A reasonable person might ask, why or how would a person “deserve” one trick or another?

We have no retort.  It is not a matter of price – although the set is not inexpensive – or even its relative rarity.  The question is only whether we deserve to have a set made with such precision, such skill? 

We have come close to listing the Schoolcraft 3CF on eBay several times but hesitated before clicking the final button.  We bent over the coin set, stroking it slowly and intoning Gollum’s “precious, precious.”

If you are interested and deserving of such a fine effect made by the master craftsman, you can check out our listing on eBay.  If you believe yourself undeserving of such an item, you can join us at the group therapy session on Tuesdays in conference room C-1 at the community center.

Here is the eBay link if you have it in you.  http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=190447069439

Gimmicked Coins Can Enhance Even the Best Sleights

The Secret is Skill and TechnologyThis is revised (we made it English) and republished from the January 25, 2006 edition of Inside Magic.

There are two arguments one must avoid when one attends a magic convention

Both will destroy relationships, hurt feelings, cause resentment, ulcers, and emotional distress

They are the elephant-sized subjects we all pretend are not there

One of those two arguments is “should a great coin magician ever use gimmicked coins?”

Please understand our position from the outset. We have no pride — at all. But that is a family trait

Uncle, Billy “Bats-n-Balls” Hardy worked as a juggler during vaudeville’s heaving death-throws

In an unfortunate and inexplicable juggling accident, Billy sliced off his right ear

Continue reading “Gimmicked Coins Can Enhance Even the Best Sleights”