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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » Expensive Cups vs Cheapos (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Rob Johnston
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I am a poor person. I am shocked when I see people paying over 100 dollars for cups and balls.

I look at them expecting to see cups made out of gold for that price....but then I just see some old crusty copper kind. "You paid 400 dollars for those?!....Rust included?!"


When we get down to it...are those expensive cups for collectors? Or do they really amplify your skills in the Cups and Balls?

I have a 12 dollar alluminum set, and they work just fine for me.

Any thoughts are appreciated.
"Genius is another word for magic, and the whole point of magic is that it is inexplicable." - Margot Fonteyn
Joker 808
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I just bought the general set of chop cups, 3 cups (one a chop cup) and 3 balls (one magnetised) for a good price of £25 from http://www.magicbox.uk.com. It was all I ever needed for many outstanding routines.

Joker 808
What's that rabbit doing on your face?
Rob Johnston
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That is what I mean...that is all you need. But people spend hundreds of dollars on cups and balls....
"Genius is another word for magic, and the whole point of magic is that it is inexplicable." - Margot Fonteyn
drwilson
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Astinus,

If you dig around using the search function you will find some excellent posts on why the copper cups are worth it (for many people). I started with an aluminum combo set many years ago, have pitched plastic cups at a fair, and now have a set of Gazzo's copper cups.

The plastic cups are a challenge but if you make them look good people will buy them. I produced final loads of brussel sprouts, strawberries, and whole walnuts and pecans. This drives people nuts when you are using Adams plastic cups that sell for $5.

Having used the Gazzo copper cups I would never go back to an aluminum set. You can get a very nice rhythm going with heavy cups like this. They feel great. They won't blow away on the street. Technically, copper does not "rust," it develops a patina that many people of refined taste consider attractive. Consider how the Statue of Liberty (which is bronze) would look if it were chrome plated or polished brass instead of having the very rich bronze patina that it currently has.

While we are on the subject of Liberty, part of your pursuit of happiness can be to dazzle people with a set of aluminum cups. If you make a lot of money doing Cups and Balls on the street, one day you will try out a set of expensive cups and you will figure out what people are talking about.

It is possible that people who buy an expensive set of cups are self-deluded, too embarrassed about what they have spent to admit that they made a mistake. If this is the case, the rate of self-delusion must be around 100%, because you can't find any posts on the Café knocking expensive cups and offering them for sale.

You will hear from lots of people on this subject. That prediction is from my crystal (also very old and expensive), not from my cups.

Have fun!

Yours,

Paul
Rob Johnston
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Thanks.

When I make a much more money than now, maybe I will pick up some nice ol' rusty (excuse me....patina'd) cups for a few hundred smackaroos.

Heck, now that I think about it...maybe some nice Dixie cups from the grocery store would be sufficient.
I guess I wasted 12 dollars on my aluminum set.
"Genius is another word for magic, and the whole point of magic is that it is inexplicable." - Margot Fonteyn
what
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I recently upgraded from an aluminum combo set to the Penguin copper set. The design of the cups is better. They sound better, and they weigh better. Does this make me a better performer? Not really, but I do the Cups & Balls more often with my new set because it feels better. Best of luck,

Mike
Magic is fun!!!
-The Scot-
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It can also be psychologically reassuring, knowing you are using top quality props.

Unless you are a full time pro, I don't think you would get enough use for expensive cups.
KirkG
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Astinus,

Expensive is a relative term. Perhaps, only Dixie cups are what is a good value for you. I know some who like to collect things regardless of their cost.

A Mercedes won't get you to the store any better than a Volkswagen(insert your own cars of choice), but many people buy them. Even so, you will admit the Mercedes is a better built, designed and featured car. Some people can recognize and prefer that. To them, the purchase is a no brainer. This is not to say that there aren't several other models of cars available that are different/better than a Volkswagen. It is the same with cups.

No, I don't think the Sherwood cups are necessary, just very nice and if you can afford it, wonderful to have. They are a better built, designed and featured cup. Since they are unique and rare, that drives the price. Perhaps without that rarity, they would be more affordable. But until that happens, they cost what they cost. Johnson, Penguin, JES, Gazzo, Biro, etc., all are choices with different attributes and prices. One will be right for you. Perhaps more than one. You will find it when you find it. Don't' worry.

I think if you try a set of "better" cups, you will find that your routine improves as you will be able to do more and more easily. Of course, if you are not willing to grow, the cups won't matter. At which point, if you made a good purchase, you will be able to sell the cups to someone else for close to the same money. Quality counts and never goes out of style. I can sell my Hasselblad camera for more money now than I paid for it when I bought it the first time. There are a few things in life that work that way and once you get to experience them, you will begin to appreciate them.

KirkG
RobertBloor
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Quote:
Heck, now that I think about it...maybe some nice dixie cups from the grocery store would be sufficient.
I guess I wasted 12 dollars on my aluminum set.


Depends on what caliber of performer you are I suppose.
I know if I was charging a thousand dollars for a gig and showed up with Dixie cups, chances are the client might not be too impressed.

Keep in mind the average clients couldn't begin to tell the difference between Gazzo, Animal, Johnson or Van Dokkum cups etc.

But they can tell the difference in quality between light weight aluminum and a solid, heavy copper cup.

Robert Bloor
"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,"
-The Declaration of Independence
-The Scot-
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Quote:
But they can tell the difference in quality between light weight aluminum and a solid, heavy copper cup.


They can also tell the difference between a metal cup and a dixie cup (well I hope they can anyway!)
chrisrkline
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I went the middle route. I started with cheaper aluminum and upgraded to a 40 dollar set of copper. They are shaped like the aluminum but are quite a bit heavier. They also hold a bigger load and I think they handle much better. I also got myself a set of Mike Rogers baseballs, about 5 times the price of red cork balls with a sweater, but I know that they are much easier to handle and I do things better with them.
Chris
Pete Biro
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One of the all-time great close up performers, John Ramsay, did a two cup routine that was (and still is) amazing, fun and baffling.

What cups did he use?

Two cardboard ice cream cups painted silver.

:kermit:
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
wisdom
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I have often thought that ice cream cups are all you need. I am now highly delighted to find that the great John Ramsey agreed with me.

I also suspect that ice cream cups would be more effective when working impromptu for laymen.I wouldn't paint them silver though. I have always believed that the more mundane your props are the more effective you are.

No good for the street though. The wind would blow them away. I wouldn't balk at using them in a corporate show though. I bet the booker wouldn't care a fig.

The trouble is that I once read in a book by stuffy old Wilfrid Jonson that "certain English conjurers who use plastic beakers, paper picnic cups, or old ice cream containers. These seeming practicalities add nothing to the effect and we advise the reader to purchase a proper set of cups worthy of the dignity of this classic of legerdemain"

Old Wilfrid's words have quite traumatised me for 40 years and I have never had the nerve to use ice cream cups since even though I know in my heart that it is the correct thing to do.

I might now summon up the courage to change after what Pete has written. I hope old Wilfrid doesn't find out. He will turn in his grave.
MJ Marrs
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Can you still get from point A to point B, and sometimes to point C, with an old clunker of a car that leaks oil? Yep. But it's so much nicer in a Rolls Royce.

I like a nice set of cups, not because my routine is that much better than if I used a set of Dixie cups; but because I simply like using them. Some of the folks I perform for do comment on my Sherwoods sometimes however.
KirkG
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Quality attracts quality. Kirk

Frankly I think the paper cups could enhance the routine depending on your persona and presentation.

I think most people realize my cups are un gimmicked even if they don't have a set in their bathroom, but perhaps the absolute fairness of the paper cup could be used to create a heightened artificial sense of fairness that could work to your advantage.

Kirk
Bill Palmer
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Nice metal cups are more fun to work with. They feel good in the hand. They don't blow over in the wind.

I see some things as having been done as a challenge.

For example, deep down in my heart, I know that the Stars of Magic cups and balls routine had to have been done, because Vernon must have said to someone that it was possible to do the cups and balls without a set of good metal cups. I also strongly suspect that the musical "1776" must have been done as a bet.

I can just hear the conversation. "Harry. I can write a best-selling musical on any subject, no matter how dry it is."

"Oh, YEAH?" comes the reply, "how about the phone book?"

And the guy writes "Bells are Ringing."

"OH, YEAH?" comes the reply, "How about the Declaration of Independence?"

And the guy writes "1776."
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Bill Hegbli
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Astinus,

And yet in another string you are ordering very expensive gimmick custom coin tricks.

I think it is your value system, not the cups.
Jonathan Townsend
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Not sure how to approach this one...

Sure, as a Ramsay student I can vouch for the trick working with the 4 oz ice cream cups. Paint them silver if you really want to.

However, as the working pros have pointed out, the LOOK and FEEL of your work is affected by the look and feel of your props. Though the clothes don't make the man, in some cases the clothes to serve as an admission ticket to be among those with the means to reward your efforts.

Three factors to take into account regarding props..
0) Pertinent to your audience
1) Congruent to your character
2) Appropriate to your venue

The inexpensive aluminum cups can easily be passed off as thermos tops if you so choose. The caliber of your routining will speak more generally to the success of your performance than more expensive cups.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
wisdom
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I am glad to see that Jonathon is going all intellectual on us again. His post about ding dong tricks and Viagra in the sponge ball thread quite unnerved me.
He used the word "congruent" so all must be fine in the world once more.
Jkta99
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So for a middle range set of cups where would one go to get some for around $40-$50?
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