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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Nothing up my sleeve... » » Do you polish your coins? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Leigh
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Ex-Blighty, now Canada
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I recently acquired some East African 10 cents coins two of which were rather dirty. I cleaned one by putting it in brown sauce which took off most of the dirt. I then buffed it with a silver polish - I didn't have any Brasso.

Now I'm not sure if I like it clean. Compared to the others it looks too new. At least the others look used. Now I'm not sure whether to clean all of them or not. Someone mentioned that with shiny coins there is more chance of it catching the light, hence flashing.

What do the rest of you do? Any thoughts?

(BTW, I cleaned one of my Walking Liberty coins and it is lovely. I intend to do the rest now)
Geoff Williams
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St. Pete Beach, FL
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On Diamond Jim Tyler's new video set "Pockets Full of Miracles", he mentions having his coins nickle-plated to give them a very shiny, professional look. They also resist tarnishing.

I have to admit, his coins look very nice, indeed. I think this might be worth considering. Most jewelers can do this easily.

BTW, Leigh, I am wondering what it was that you sat on at the time your picture was taken.

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Bernard Sim
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Singapore
1095 Posts

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I sometimes polish my coins. When it is shiny, it makes me happy Smile . I just took out my hopping half and polished it. It sure makes me happy.

I've got no preference to whether the coins are polished or not. But when I'm bored, I'll polish my coins. Smile
Bernard Sim
Philemon Vanderbeck
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Seattle, WA
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I prefer the tarnished look... especially when one is using gimmicked coins.

For some reason, I think that coins that seem somewhat 'used', look less suspicious from a psychological viewpoint to a spectator.

Or maybe I just like things that look 'old'.
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Marduke Kurios
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Vancouver, Canada
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I used to polish my copper coins but found out that polished copper is hard to differentiate from silver in dim light.
In my C/S routines it's hard hard to tell them apart. So now I shine the silver and keep the copper dull.
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Scott F. Guinn
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I guess I just don't understand how "polished" translates to "professional." Many pros used tarnished coins. To me, a highly polished coin says, "He only uses me for this trick, so there must be something tricky about me--I'm too highly polished to be an everyday coin or as old and valuable as he claims I am!"
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Michael Rubinstein
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Some of my coins are polished, but most are
"as is"... it depends on the routine and what I need.
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And if anyone (USA ONLY) needs some of the coin stuff used in the book, shoot me an email at rubinsteindvm@aol.com as I have some limited supplies of coins and props used on the book.
Mitch
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Toronto, Canada
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Well, given that most of the coin stuff I do is with foreign currency (I am Canadian and use U.S. Half Dollars and English Pennies) it is ok to have them nice and shiney. No need to worry about it looking "suspicious" being all shiney, cause eveyone knows I must just use these coins for magic cause I certainly can't spend 'em here.

If they made more coin gaffs in Cdn coinage then I probably would be more careful about how shiney they were... however, I do like to have all the coins I use look similar (ie. if doing an effect with 4 identical coins like half dollars) so that no one coin stands out from the others - and sometimes the best way to achieve this is to have them all have the same "shine" to them - the easiest way to acheive this is to have them all shiney.

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Matt Graves
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Huntsville, Alabama (USA)
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I like them just in-between, not brand-new-looking and not so dirty it's hard to see the President's face on them. . .
Reed McClintock
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I agree with philemon on this one. I feel from a psychological point using the coins in their natural state of being this is just a better look and feel. If you have coins that are very old and they are sparkly like a holiday, there might be something trick about them.
"Stuff is anything, but magic is everything"



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Lonnie Dilan
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Canyon Country, California
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When I first got into magic I used to polish my coins like crazy. Now I could care less. I have found that through just handling the coins, like doing coin rolls and just holding the coin will keep them looking really neat. You get all those nice dark accents in all the crevices and the coins don't shine all crazy.

I don't think that shiney coins will cause anymore flashing than a dull coin. Light has nothing to do with it. I use chrome plated jumbo coins in some of my routines and they shine like crazy. I have not been busted doing anything with them.

If your worried about flashing of the coins then you should start practicing a little more in the mirror.

I buy tons of coins and the only reason they get polished is when they are covered in that crazy yellow or black stuff... I don't know what the heck the yellow is.... I don't want to know.
Reed McClintock
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Excellent point, I find that to be very true, the more you use the coins, the higher parts of the coins look silver and the details laid in black looks very elegant.
I think just classy all together and low maintance the magic is with you and the coins not how well the coins are dressed
Per se
"Stuff is anything, but magic is everything"



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Scott F. Guinn
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I don't think there's anything WRONG with polishing your coins, I've just never seen how that was more "professional," which is how a number of people describe it.
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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Millard123
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Millard Longman
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Coins made of real silver such as the Silver American Eagle (1 ounce of pure silver) will stay clean just by using them.

Copper coins and the American Sacagawea dollar coins should be left to tarnish a bit so that they can be easily distinguished from the silver coins.

The "silver" coins that are not made of silver should not even be used.

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Jeb Sherrill
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It depends so much on style. Some people like having all their coins crisp and shiny. Of course, coins in the real world are never all that shiny unless just taken from the bank, and so one might argue that shiny coins are more likely to be thought of as gimmicked. So long as coins aren't dirty, I don't think there's anything unprofessional about them, it's just a matter of taste.

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Reian
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Hawaii
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This might be irrelevant to the theme of this thread but here goes. Scott talked about professionalism and such. So my question is "If polished/tarnished coins have little or no effect on the user being
'professional', does white crispy/brown sticky cards effect the user from looking professional." I mean, brown sticky cards don't look suspicious.

Anyway, to stay on topic. I clean my pennies so they get that nice shine. I cleaned the penny from my penny/dime set but the penny turned black. I just threw that out the window.
Jeb Sherrill
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Well, coins are a little more resillent than cards and people are more used to seeing them after years of use, unlike cards where people are probably more used to a partially used deck (not crispy white, but not brown and bent). Coins don't get as dirty as cards anyway (unless you find one in a ditch somewhere). Besides, I don't think Scott was trying to say "use dirty coins", only that they didn't have to shine like diamonds. The average coin looks about the same. And, as I said, shiny coins if anything might be perceived as fake, simply because people aren't used to seeing coins that shiny (not that that would stop me from shining them if I was apt to do so).

Sable
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Tony
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I only had the dollar/half dollars (including shells and gaffed halves) machine-polished by a jeweler once. The copper and brass coins are cleaned with either toothpaste or salt and vinegar and then washed with dishwashing soap. I prefer clean coins since I use them mostly for close-up. I use dollar coins when I'm away from a table.
lesterkirad
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west lafayette, in
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I used to polish coins because I thought it made them look better. I got tired of constantly polishing and gave up on them. Guess what... they still get the same response. I don't do big time stage work, just close up. I think that coins that aren't shiny give a more natural, comfortable feel. I think that polishing coins in a big show, where the coins are the emphasis would in fact add something. But, just for regular close up effects, the emphasis really isn't the coins, but what is happening to them.
thimblerig
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Bellevue, WA
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A couple of thoughts -
Have been working with coin magic for almost thirty years (ouch). Some effects are better with shiny coins that catch the light - e.g. virtually any retention-of-vision vanish or the Miser's Dream from other than very close up. Others it just doesn't matter, particularly for out of pocket "impromptu" work. I agree however that the copper coins can look too similar to silver coins in dim light if they are polished.

Personally, I would (and have) clean(ed) up the coins before a more formal presentation.

Here's an idea for you: start with tarnished coins - any will do but copper will offer greater contrast than silver - and then magically polish them before doing another effect. Could be done a variety of ways, but I suggest making a "Dull/Shiny" coin ala copper-silver by only polishing one side of the coin. This coin can then be instantly "polished", placed aside, another tarnished coin is selected, instantly polished, etc. as necessary. I leave the specifics to your imagination as I am not yet able to get into the "banquet room..."

What do you think?

tr

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