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Inner circle
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Profile of videoman

Ok, so this had been sitting in my wish list for ages until I rather impulsively decided to add it to my cart last week.

This is what I received:

The coin supplied was an older eagle back quarter. This is a good thing because it’s been long established that the eagle design camouflages the gaff very well, and it’s much easier to get matching regular coins than if were made from a state or national park quarter. So first judgement immediately out of the box is a plus.

But oh, oh, these gaffs are made from 2 coins and the 2 coins mine was made from didn't match well at all in terms of patina or finish. It was glaringly obvious there was a funky colored perfectly round center part of the coin. You would never see that on a regular coin. So the initial plus was immediately countered by a minus.

So I got out my polishing cloth from my coin repair and refurbishment kit and went to work on it. Fortunately it took only a small amount of elbow grease to get both sections of the coin to match. Now the gaff was much more difficult to see. So that’s another plus.

Difficult to see, but still a bit more conspicuous than I would like.
This was caused by 2 factors. The first was that the inner “hole” piece did not sit flush around its entire circumference. It was crooked, which meant that although it was flush at the top near the eagle's head, the bottom part just beyond the eagle's feet was recessed in a tiny bit. And as you know, when it comes to coin gaffs something can go from looking perfect to looking horrible with a change of only a couple thousandths of an inch. The other problem was there was an extremely tiny gap near the top of the hole that allowed a tiny sliver of shiny copper to be seen when the light hit it a certain way. Seeing this glint of copper coming from the center of a face of a quarter was a dead giveaway that something wasn’t right. These issues were definitely minuses.
Actually there was a third (albeit minor) issue that the inner hole piece did not align perfectly with the outer part. It was close but a little off.

Could all these problems be somehow rectified? I honestly wasn’t sure and at this point I thought there was a 99% chance that this item would be going back to Penguin.

Buts let’s see if anything can be done to adjust it. My first adjustment technique was brute force. I tried to bend the sheet metal backing the hole piece was attached to in order for the hole to sit flush all the way around. First attempt showed no change. Second attempt using a little more force also showed no change. Third attempt with just a tad more force and the hole piece snapped off the sheet metal backing. So I now held two separate pieces in my hands. Without question that is a minus! 😃

But wait, this actually a blessing disguise. Because I now discover that once detached from the sheet metal spring hinge thingy, that the inner hole piece will now sit flush all around the circumference, and by doing that it fits exactly within the hole so no more flashes of copper, AND I can obviously spin the inner hole to make it line up perfectly with the outer section. All 3 issues are gone. The gaff actually looks pretty *** good. At least as good as my Johnson gaff, and that one (purchased in the '70's) always looked really good.

So a couple drops of Super Glue later and I’m back in business with a really deceptive gaff in my hands. Back to a plus at last!

A couple other things about this gaff…
The hole is larger than a cig thru obviously in order to fit a Sharpie. The Sharpie goes all the way down until the cap reaches the hole. The cap is too large to fit thru. Because a Sharpie is tapered you cannot do the slow and very visible entrance and exit like you can with a cig thru. You have to perform this one with a little more speed, plunging it thru and pulling the pen out quickly similar to how you perform Puncture if you are familiar with that effect. This may be a good thing because that style of performance can facilitate a pretty deceiving switch, and many folks consider the slow and visible healing of the coin to fall into the “too perfect” theory anyway.

So I’m laying in bed last night about to drift off to sleep when it occurs to me that because of the larger diameter hole in this gaff as compared to the standard cig sized hole, I wondered if I could get a finger thru it. Because magicians are obsessive oddballs, I of course could not wait until the light of day to find this out. No, I had to get out of bed and traverse down 2 flights of stairs to the basement in my half asleep daze. This made all the more stupid by the fact that I had total hip replacement surgery only 10 days ago. But I did find out that even my pinky would only go thru to about the bottom of my fingernail. But I also found that this looks pretty darn good. I kind of like the fact that it isn’t obvious my finger is penetrating the coin. It looks like it is slowly sinking into the coin, but then maybe that’s just some optical illusion like when you pretend to pull your thumb off your hand. You can see it slowly sink in and then slowly re-emerge, but I think specs will be left wondering “wait, did that really happen?”

So I’m kinda liking the finger penetration. I’m going to play around with that and see what develops.

AFA the gaff itself…I’m very happy with it now and think it is extremely deceptive. So yes, I am happy I finally pulled the trigger on it and I do believe I am going to keep it. YMMV.
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Inner circle
Pittsburg, CA
2237 Posts

Profile of dooblehorn
Wow, Vman, gotta give you credit, you have more patience than I'd have. And glad your hip surgery went well, my brothers wife had the same procedure. I was told they obviously must remove your legs to replace the hip? Eek.
But anyway, your stumbling down the stairs in the middle of the night for reasons pertaining to a trick made me laugh, because I've done the same.

Your story's great, way to turn a negative back into a positive!
stevie c
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Loyal user
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Profile of stevie c
I was told they obviously must remove your legs to replace the hip? Eek. [/quote]

It's good that you became a magician rather than a surgeon Smile Excellent thread .... enjoyable to read guys.


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Inner circle
5484 Posts

Profile of videoman
Yes, happy to report that my leg remained completely intact throughout!!! 😃
And I am moving around pretty normal now. Ah, to be pain-free. Please never take it for granted.

There are certain arts and crafts that I despise because I am terrible at them. But the things I mentioned in this post I actually kind of enjoy so I was pretty eager to try them. Fortunately it all turned out well in the end. Have to say that after looking at this Tango gaff more closely over the last few days I think it is even slightly more deceptive than my Johnson gaffed quarter, which I always felt was an excellent gaff.
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