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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Need help with the half dollar coin and matching gaffs (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Nightcrawler
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Dear magicians,

I'm quite new to coin magic and I live in Germany. I was practising some coin tricks in our currency (Euro) and found some big disadvantages with using Euros. Now I would like to get some regular half dollars and corresponding gaffs.

Unfortunately I'm not familiar with U.S. dollars at all and was wondering if you could help me.
1. I got now a half dollar coin "Kennedy 2014" and figured out a copper edge. Should it be like this?
2. Why do so many magicians only use the Walking Liberty or Kennedy 1964 half dollars? Are they completely made from silver?
3. Which version of the half dollar coins would you suggest for beginners? And where can I buy them?

Furthermore I'm very interested in
- "EXPANDED HALF DOLLAR J B PRO COIN LINE" (http://www.jbtvusa.com/j-b-pro-coin-line/expanded-half-dollar-j-b-pro-coin-line-264-76-332.php) and
- "TRICEPTION COIN SET HALF DOLLAR BY BOB SWADLING & MARK MASON" (http://www.jbtvusa.com/latest-j-b-products/triception-coin-set-half-dollar-by-bob-swadling-mark-mason-514-73-628.php)

4. Does it make sense to buy such high quality gaffs for a beginner?
5. Wich Kennedy half dollar do they ship with the products?
6. Do the coins/shells included, have the same copper edge like my half dollar 2014
7. Do the shells have a copper color at the mouth-open-side?

I know these are a lot of questions and sorry for my ignorance :-(
I hope you can help me getting more familiar with the half dollar.

Thank you in advance for your help!

Kind regards,
Nightcrawler
55Hudson
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Welcome Nightcrawler!

All good questions. Before I answer the ones that I can, here are some general comments for you to consider.

Generally it is better to use props (e.g. Coins) that are local/everyday items. A suspicion that your audience will have will be that the props are doing 'the magic'. While this may be the case, it is not the solution you want them to assume. So, it would be much better for you to use Euros... I agree some slights are more difficult with Euro coins, there are still many routines you can do with easier slights and local gaff coins. I am not aware of the commercial grade (beginner) suppliers for Euros, but certainly they are out there.

Now to your questions.

1). Yes. Edges of Kennedy half dollars will have copper on the edges. (Except 1964)

2). You are correct. Up to 1964, the first year Kennedy half was introduced, US half dollars were all silver (almost - 90%+ I think).

3). Start with the inexpensive ones (post 1964). After a while you will settle on certain tricks you want to keep doing - you will go through lots of trial and error. Some tricks you will do for a while and then set aside and never do again. Stay with inexpensive till you are certain it is a prop you will use for years. Sorry, but I don't know where you can get half dollars. US banks sometimes have them. If you visit USA, or have a friend visit, go to a bank and ask. You might have to try several banks. I am not familiar with the tricks you mentioned, so cannot comment on them.

4). Don't spend Euros on expensive props as a beginner.

5). They will be post 1964, unless specified as 1964 coins.

6). Yes. They will have copper edges. But there is a bit of deformation, depending on quality and cost of the shell. The more expensive shells will look better, but for almost all applications, even low quality shells will do the job.

7). Every shell I've seen, except for the pre-1964 coins, are copper on the inside.

Hope that helps. Also, remember the best spent money will be on lessons and instructional material (books/DVDs/downloads).

Good luck!

Hudson
Nightcrawler
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Hudson,

thank you for all you answers and the good tipps, that helped me a lot.
I know, using Euros would be really nice because I could do tricks with borrowed coins. Although I have quite small hands classic palming a half dollars is much, much easier for me than palming a 2 Euro coin! Other advantages are that you can see the half dollar coins much better and I won't accidentally pay with them ;-)
I thought about handing out the half dollars before doing a trick. So the spectators can be sure that they are real and while doing my routine I could exchange them even by a trick coin. Another point is that you could come up with a story about the coins (they're special/magic coins, a souvenir from a friend, ...)

You're right, I found out, that Tango produces some Euro gaffs, but not es much as dollar gaffs by far! I think it is easier to get good dollar gaffs than corresponding Euro gaffs...

I like your advice spending more money on instruction material than on gaffs at the beginning.
For now I worked through metal 1 to metal 3 by Eric Jones, David Roth Expert Coin Magic and a part of the Bobos modern coin magic.
I was thinking about buying the New York Coin Magic Seminar DVDs. Do you think this is a good point to continue with? Which material would you recommend me?

Thank you in advance,

Nightcrawler
Dougini
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Hi Nightcrawler! Welcome to the Café! Smile

The New York Coin Magic Seminar DVDs are the best investment in Coin Magic today, in my opinion. Half Dollars, yeah, I'd stick with after 1964. As far as gaffed coins go, you can't do better than Johnson Products, for the money:

https://johnsonmagicproducts.com/shop/index.php

Doug
frankvomit
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I'd kinda like to echo what 55Hudson already touched on as far as yusing local coins as much as you can especially for anytime anywhere effects goes . I know you can get gaffed euro coins as well, don't know who makes em but you can find them. I you contact Roy Kuepers he can customize ones for you but it won't be cheep.
Nightcrawler
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Hm, I was already sure to take half dollars, but after your recommendations I'm in doubt! I did a research on 2 Euro Flipper coins. There seem to be only 2 companies that produce them (Tango & SilverSteam) and none of them offers a gravity flipper. I feel really resticted with Euro coins :-(

Looks like I have to make a decision...
frankvomit
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What you could do is use euros for the stuff that doesn't require gaffs and use your half dollars when you want to do gaffer stuff. You can find Kennedy halfs on eBay and they are relatively inexpensive I think you can get 10 of em for like 8 bucks but don't quote me on that .
55Hudson
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Nightcrawler,

I do not have the New York Coin Seminar DVDs, but have heard good things about them.

Michael Aamar is an excellent teacher and his The Complete Introduction to Coin Magic is a great DVD to start with. Then David Roth's 4 DVD set, Ultimate Coin Collection, has all the advanced material most people would need.

One other DVD, The Al Schneider Technique, Vol 1 teaches Al's basic vanish, which I cannot recommend enough. This vanish is so powerful, so natural, and so deceiving, it is the vanish I use 90%+ of the time. This one move is worth the cost of the entire DVD and when perfected will be used for the rest of your magic career.

Well, that said I feel the need to continue and give advice Smile. If I were to start magic over again from the beginning, these are the resources I would want:
- The Al Schneider Technique, Vol 1. (DVD)
- Michael Aamar's Complete Cups and Balls DVD vol 1&2
- Roberto Giobbi's Card College Vol 1&2 (Books)

Most of coin work I do is based on the Schneider material. The lessons I learned in Aamar's DVD has wide application across all my magic. Think more small object than just coins - balls, colored stones, grapes, olives ... all make great magic props. A classic trick (included in Schneider's DVD) is transformation of a copper and silver coin. No reason why you can't do that with a grape and an olive ... Learn the basics of magic and then apply them to new situations.

Good luck!

Hudson
1KJ
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Nightcrawler,
I seem to have migrated to coin effects with regular coins. I don't mean ungaffed coins, I mean coins people see and use every day. I generally only use modern pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and the new dollar coins. With a few exceptions, like misers dream, coins tend to be more close up. I do routines with borrowed coins, and sometimes I ring in a gaff, sometimes not.

I think some good sources for magic with ordinary looking coins in addition to some mentioned above would be Garrett Thomas (Imagination Coins), and Greg Wilson (Ex: The pitch and ditch and his coins across with regular ungimmicked coins).

I use just basic gaffed coins. In fact, I would say that about 90% of what I do with gaffed coins is either gaffs I have made (Square coins, half coins, coins with holes, coins with slits, glued coins, etc), or the good ol' shell. I don't know if you can get shells for your local coins, but that's what I would do. Then, get a drill, a dremmel, and a metal cutter (They look like heavy duty scissors).

There are also some pretty good effects and routines for sale. Here are a few that I like, you might want to check them out:
Orient Express: I think it is the best version of copper silver. It appeals to older and younger audiences.
Sleeve Star: Possibly the best coins across method ever.
Charming Chinese challenge: A great routine by Troy Hooser.

Have fun.

KJ
RedHatMagic
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How close are you to Switzerland? The 5 Franc piece palms beautifully (at least for me).
Let the Entertainment Commence!
David Fillary
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I'd also recommend David Stone's beginner coin dvds (although they certainly progress to advanced stuff - there are quite a few multiple palming routines!). I recommend these because his routines have a different flavour to Roth and Ammars and its good to experience different styles as you progress.

I'm from the UK and most of the time I use half dollars. I load into peoples pockets a lot, so I like the fact they can't claim its theirs Smile
But I am starting to migrate to local currency more. It depends on the effect too. Coin in bottle and other "impossible" feats has got to be done with local currency, preferably borrowed. A coins across? Not sure as much - especially when the last coin goes to their hand and they're left free to examine it.

It is worth bearing in mind though that when reading Bobo's, he recommends borrowing half dollars - half dollars used to be regular currency! He never mentioned using older coins!
Nightcrawler
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Hey Guys,

thank you for all your help and good advices. I decided to start with a few kennedy head half dollars (post 1964). After practising with the halfs, I will try to do the tricks with our 2 Euro coins.
Since we have a lot of americans in our town (here is a big military base), people would propably not wonder that much, why I use dollars.

Meanwhile I got "The Al Schneider Technique Vol. 1", "David Stone - Basic Coin Magic Vol. 1" and "David Stone - Coin Magic Vol. 2". I really like them all - thanks for these good advices!!!

Furthermore I found out, that the best way to get half dollar coins in Germany is ebay. There are a few sellers, that offer even uncirculatet coins from 2012, 2013, 2014.
55Hudson
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Nightcrawler,

Sounds like you are off to a good start. Just make sure you don't tell Americans that you got half dollars in change or anything like that - they are generally not used anymore even though they are available.

Good luck!

Hudson
RobDougherty
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Nightcrawler,

The only thing I'd add to the great advice you've been given is that in my personal experience performing coin tricks with US currency in the UK is that people really don't question the nationality of the coins used for most effects. The only effects I actually use in British currency are coin in bottle, biting out a coin etc where I will switch a borrowed coin with a gaff. If I perform anything like a coins across or vanishing routine etc I use dollar coins (even half-dollars are very small in my hands) and the most I've ever had was "Wow, what type of coin is that?" at which point I'll hand them the coin to look at. I simply can't use local currency for most sleights effectively as the coins are so small I have very little options in concealments, with American coins or other larger coins I can. I've even used patter to make more of a "story" out of the foreign coins: eg, "You know how they say the UK is becoming Americanised? Well even the invisible coins we magicians use are changing!" as I produce a coin. If I'm doing a one coin/flurry routine I'll often say "Take a look at this, it's a 'lucky dollar' I was given by a friend in America, it has some really strange properties" or similar. I think the issue would come more if you were using a gaff that couldn't be examined, as I mostly use regular ungaffed coins for my magic a simple "here take a look" generally stops any suspicion that the coin is "doing the magic."

All the best

Rob
Joe McIntyre
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Coin magic, a coin book by Richard Kaufman could be helpful to you.
Nightcrawler
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Rob,

thank you for sharing your experience/opinion. As I am starting to do coin magic as a hobbyist, I didn't have a lot of performances in front of other people yet. But at the few I had, I made the same experience you made. The people are interestet in the coins and like to check them out. Before doing the trick I could talk a little bit about the coins and got the attention of really everyone in the group.
When I did a trick with our german coins, they are familiar with, I already got the question if I use a trick coin - I didn't. Until now, nobody asked this when I used the half dollar coins - but I did use a gaff Smile

We will see how it develops, but for now I am happy with my decision using brand new Kennedy head half dollar pieces.

Regards,
Nightcrawler
RobDougherty
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Nightcrawler,

Glad to be of help, funnily enough I also had the exact same issues when using gaffed coins in English currency - this is actually why I tend to do the few gaffed tricks that I have WITH British currency, though I do so with a switch. My advice would be to get a couple of gaffs in Euro's but keep them aside whilst you use your half dollars. If someone says "but those are foreign coins and might be trick coins" then say "Ok then Sir, I see you're a sceptic. Do you have any change on you?" Then it's a simple matter to switch their coin with one of your own, perform the trick and switch it back. Like I said in my earlier post, I do almost everything with dollar-sized coins these days due to my hand size (though I use half dollars for some tricks too) but I find it handy to keep a couple of "sure thing" gaffs in British currency just for those moments when using a "borrowed" coin will add an extra bit of "oomph" to the magic. The other thing to be aware of which I didn't mention earlier is that I'd imagine very few German people have handled half dollar and dollar coins very often, whereas Euros will be everywhere - I've seen other magicians been caught out because a spectator noticed "that pound doesn't look quite right mate" but how many German people (or English as is the case with me) could pick a real half-dollar out from a fake one? I tend to use SOH more than gaffs because I love the fun of learning a challenging new slight or routine but I do think that gaffs and even using your own currency has it's place, I just don't think it's a default that you should need to. Smile
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