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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Trick coin trickery » » English pennies questions (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

karnak
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I have three questions regarding the large old English pennies commonly used in coin magic. (You know, the ones that put the "copper" in our "copper and silver" type effects.)

Firstly, on their width: they are slightly wider in diameter than half dollars, correct? So, they won't fit into a typical expanded half dollar shell (right?). But will they fit into most Okito boxes?

Secondly, on their thickness: they are slightly thinner than most half dollars, correct? Would it be fair to say that they are about the same thickness as Barber halves? (Typically, four Kennedy halves fit into an Okito box. Would I be able to get five English pennies -- or five Barber halves -- into an Okito box? Just trying to confirm some things I think I may have heard before, but now can't remember for sure!)

Thirdly -- and just out of idle curiosity -- are these English pennies we get from gaff suppliers really solid copper these days? Since circulating U.S. pennies now are not solid copper but copper-coated zinc, I was just wondering whether the standard "magic issue" English pennies nowadays were the same way, or not.

I'm sure going to coin shops to buy genuinely old English pennies would result in solid copper product, but I'm just curious as to whether the English pennies -- and gaffs made from them, like C/S coins, or C/S/B sets, or 2C/1S, and the like -- which are used by Johnson Products, or in other gaffers' products, are solid copper, or a zinc/copper mix, or what. Same question applies to the Mexican 20 centavos coins.

For that matter, are these "copper" (?) coins actual NOS ("new old stock"), or are they not even real currency anymore, but manufactured now just for magical purposes? I mean, I know that these large English pennies are no longer made in England, but are magic dealers' English pennies the real (if somewhat antique) deal, or of contemporary manufacture? And ditto for the 20 centavos coins in Johnson's (and others') C/S/B and 2C/1S?
For a supernatural chiller mixing magic (prestidigitation, legerdemain) with Magic (occultism, mysticism), check out my novel MAGIC: AN OCCULT THRILLER at http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Occult-Thriller-Reed-Hall/dp/1453874836
inigmntoya
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DC area native, now in Atlanta
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Quote:
On May 13, 2014, karnak wrote:
I have three questions regarding the large old English pennies commonly used in coin magic. (You know, the ones that put the "copper" in our "copper and silver" type effects.)

Firstly, on their width: they are slightly wider in diameter than half dollars, correct?

Correct.
Quote:
So, they won't fit into a typical expanded half dollar shell (right?).

Correct, they will not fit -- UNLESS they've been shaved down. "Out of the box", a standard English Penny will not fit.
There are a number of magic coin "sets" out there that feature a shaved English penny to facilitate routines where it is hidden inside a half dollar shell.
Quote:
But will they fit into most Okito boxes?

Uncertain. I have David Roth's set of boxes and they fit just fine. In fact, they will even hold a English Penny expanded shell. That said, the Roth boxes were designed and are advertised as being able to accommodate an expanded shell so I can't speak to "most" Okito boxes. I'd want to contact the maker/seller to be sure. Some boxes have a very snug fit.
Quote:
Secondly, on their thickness: they are slightly thinner than most half dollars, correct?

Correct
Quote:
Would it be fair to say that they are about the same thickness as Barber halves? (Typically, four Kennedy halves fit into an Okito box. Would I be able to get five English pennies -- or five Barber halves -- into an Okito box? Just trying to confirm some things I think I may have heard before, but now can't remember for sure!)

I think you'd have to try to be sure. I doubt they're the exact same thickness as Barbers, but I don't have any to compare against, and don't have five pennies to stack next to five halves at the moment.
Quote:
Thirdly -- and just out of idle curiosity -- are these English pennies we get from gaff suppliers really solid copper these days? Since circulating U.S. pennies now are not solid copper but copper-coated zinc, I was just wondering whether the standard "magic issue" English pennies nowadays were the same way, or not.

I'm sure going to coin shops to buy genuinely old English pennies would result in solid copper product, but I'm just curious as to whether the English pennies -- and gaffs made from them, like C/S coins, or C/S/B sets, or 2C/1S, and the like -- which are used by Johnson Products, or in other gaffers' products, are solid copper, or a zinc/copper mix, or what. Same question applies to the Mexican 20 centavos coins.

For that matter, are these "copper" (?) coins actual NOS ("new old stock"), or are they not even real currency anymore, but manufactured now just for magical purposes? I mean, I know that these large English pennies are no longer made in England, but are magic dealers' English pennies the real (if somewhat antique) deal, or of contemporary manufacture? And ditto for the 20 centavos coins in Johnson's (and others') C/S/B and 2C/1S?

I believe most/all English pennies and Mexican Centavos are "new old stock" and are all copper as that's the way they were made.
According to the article linked below, the last year English pennies were made for general circulation was 1967, and if you look at the numbers minted it's no wonder why that's the date on most of the ones you'll find. US pennies switched to the zinc mix in 1974 due to the rising cost of copper which made fully copper pennies worth more than one cent. Since English pennies stopped being made well before then, I don't think they'd have a reason to change their composition. Mexican 20 Centavos were minted up until 1974, I'm guessing they stopped production for similar cost reasons instead of changing their composition.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_......31970%29

http://typesets.wikidot.com/mexico:20-ce......943-1974
karnak
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Colorado
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Interesting. Thanks for all of the helpful info!
For a supernatural chiller mixing magic (prestidigitation, legerdemain) with Magic (occultism, mysticism), check out my novel MAGIC: AN OCCULT THRILLER at http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Occult-Thriller-Reed-Hall/dp/1453874836
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