Coin Magic...a dying art?

Aug 25, 2016
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I see so many card magic tutorials, videos, and the like. But coin magic? Not much. Why is this? Are cards easier for people? Are coins too expensive? We need to make Coin Magic great again.
 
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I don't think it's dying. In fact, I think it's growing. My first official magic release ever was a utility to move that was not exclusive to coins however people mainly bought it for the ability to put a coin through hand. Also with the recent releases of Blackbird by Jeff Copeland and Grifters, I don't think coin magic is slowing down anytime soon. Also based on this review that I'll share, people are still very much into performing coin magic:
 

DominusDolorum

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Jul 15, 2013
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Most tutorials are done by hacks. Hacks don't take the time to learn anything that is challenging.
Savage level: RealityOne

Card magic is simple to start with in magic because of self-working tricks or tricks that use very basic sleights. Therefore there is instant pay off without a lot of practice. I think that in many beginners mind they see coin magic as being too dextrous and something beyond their skill level so they avoid doing it. There are in fact some very basic coin routines that are excellent in developing your sleight of hand abilities and getting you used to misdirecting. What's nice is that this helps you with your card magic and the rest of your magic as a whole.
 
Oct 19, 2015
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As for easy to learn coin tricks hard to beat 'Scotch and Soda' or use of a PK ring.....

I too believe that coin tricks are growing both in number and complexity. I now have learned to work sponge balls, and this will lead me next to coin magic using slight of hand.....I think I read that in Mark Wilson's book that Sponge Ball techniques will lay the ground work for coin magic.....
 
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DominusDolorum

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As for easy to learn coin tricks hard to beat 'Scotch and Soda' or use of a PK ring.....

I too believe that coin tricks are growing both in number and complexity. I now have learned to work sponge balls, and this will lead me next to coin magic using slight of hand.....I think I read that in Mark Wilson's book that Sponge Ball techniques will lay the ground work for coin magic.....
Scotch and Soda is great. I also love Hopping Halves. For some simple coin tricks you can look in Harry Loraynes The Magic Book; these will require some minor sleight of hand. My favourite from the book is The Magnificent Seven.
 
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Mar 8, 2016
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Coins and cards go hand-in-hand. Cards have more variation which is why you might not see as many coin tricks. Also, cards are up in the spectators face while (usually) the coin is farther away.
 

Brett Hurley

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Sep 27, 2014
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Starting out with coins is cheaper than getting cards. But coin sleights take an exponentially longer amount of time to be good at.

Coin magic has been picking up quite a lot of speed as of recent.
 

Dean Magic

Elite Member
Jun 13, 2013
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I would also say that coin magic is growing. That other company recently released Forge by Perseus Arkomanis and Ping by Tobias Dostal and T11 released Break about a year ago.

I think a lot of people starting out look at coin magic like all you can do is vanish a coin and make it reappear whereas with card magic they see many different types of things you can do. People starting out also tend to go to cards over coins because there are self working card tricks but there aren't any self working coin tricks. However, I think with all these new releases more and more people will start learning coin magic. The one big advantage to coin magic is that people care about money a lot more than they care about playing cards. People serious about performing realize that an audience is much more interested in coins and hopefully this means that coin magic will continue to expand and there will be more and more innovation.
 
Aug 4, 2015
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I don't feel like I can say with authority coin magic is on the rise (because frankly, I don't get out that often), but I'm definitely seeing a lot more coin slights nowadays. I personally am starting to get into them and can say for certain they really bring up your dexterity.

I don't think it's dying. In fact, I think it's growing. My first official magic release ever was a utility to move that was not exclusive to coins however people mainly bought it for the ability to put a coin through hand. Also with the recent releases of Blackbird by Jeff Copeland and Grifters, I don't think coin magic is slowing down anytime soon. Also based on this review that I'll share, people are still very much into performing coin magic:

P.S. Whoa! You're that guy? I used to watch your card reviews all the time when I first got into magic. Huh, small world.
 
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Casey Rudd

Social Director // theory11 interactive
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Jun 5, 2009
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Most people getting into magic avoid coins when they start out because it takes a lot of work to make the magic look good. A bad thing about today's starting magicians that prevents them from being good is the instant gratification. For the most part, there's a lot of card magic that is self working and takes no practice, so obviously the person getting into magic wants to be able to perform as fast as possible after learning how it's done. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of GREAT magic that takes very minimal practice. Doesn't make it bad, but newer magicians get used to this and they expect this every time.

With cards, you have 52 pieces of paper in your hand that can provide decent cover for sleights, it can provide distractions, etc. With coins, there is only 1-4 coins in your hand, so all of the focus is on there and there is usually nowhere else to look. You have to hide the moves behind your hands (for the most part), and those things are being burned constantly. If you want coin magic to look decent, the most important aspect of pulling it off is making it look natural. This is where newer magicians turn away because this requires weeks, months, and years of practice to get down. The reason why most of the coin magic that you see performed is decent is because those people took the time to learn to develop natural handling and put the work in.

I can honestly say that if you learn to handle coins naturally, it will make your card magic look better. Not only because you learned to be natural with your hand movement, but it also makes the way you handle cards much smoother. You treat the cards delicately with a light touch because if you tense up, your audience will notice and become suspicious. Learning to be natural is the one step most starting magicians skip over, and is the main reason why they will never get better. It must be put into practice if they have any chance of progressing in their performance.
 
Aug 25, 2016
29
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A bad thing about today's starting magicians that prevents them from being good is the instant gratification.

Yeeees. I know many beginners trying to get the next gimmick, without the foundations of sleight of hand and performance. Some people I have seen "perform" magic really don't know how to make it their own. I see a lot of magicians who really don't have a style of their own, but copy other artist's patter and performance. It just seems unnatural, and those who watch can pick up on this.
 
I don't feel like I can say with authority coin magic is on the rise (because frankly, I don't get out that often), but I'm definitely seeing a lot more coin slights nowadays. I personally am starting to get into them and can say for certain they really bring up your dexterity.



P.S. Whoa! You're that guy? I used to watch your card reviews all the time when I first got into magic. Huh, small world.
Haha no that video was not made by me. It was the guy who reviewed a "coin" release that I put out. I just shared it because I thought he was enthusiastic about it which shows that doing coin magic can still be cool.
 

Brett Hurley

Elite Member
Sep 27, 2014
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The one big advantage to coin magic is that people care about money a lot more than they care about playing cards. People serious about performing realize that an audience is much more interested in coins and hopefully this means that coin magic will continue to expand and there will be more and more innovation.

While it's true that, if you were to compare the two, coins are more relevant to the audience right out of the gate.

The one thing I find a bit odd is that the coins you would typically use for coin tricks and sleights are typically unusual coins.

I mean, when was the last time you or anyone ever used a half-dollar or silver dollar in public? How about those $1 Sacajawea/President coins?

Quarters can be used for coin sleights, but not exactly the most ideal.

Maybe it's just me working on coins lately and suddenly realizing a bit of the absurdity of 'are these odd coins relevant to the audience?'
Does the audience care that you're using odd denominational coins that are rarely seen outside of magic application and banks?
 

RealityOne

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Nov 1, 2009
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I mean, when was the last time you or anyone ever used a half-dollar or silver dollar in public? How about those $1 Sacajawea/President coins?
***
Does the audience care that you're using odd denominational coins that are rarely seen outside of magic application and banks?

It depends on how you are performing. If you are in a more formal performance, the older coins are seen much like any other classic magic prop (e.g. linking rings). If you are on the street, your chance of borrowing a Walking Liberty is pretty slim. However, it can work if you can present a justification for using those coins. I use 1968 Kennedy Silver Half Dollars that I found in a coin purse that my wife's grandmother gave to her. There is a lot of interesting facts about those coins, how popular they were and how people hoarded them. Those coins are sort of like using custom decks in performance... it works as long as you explain why you are using them.
 
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Dean Magic

Elite Member
Jun 13, 2013
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I agree with what RealityOne said. There are a few tricks (like coin under watch) where I'll use a borrowed quarter but I generally use half dollars. People tend not to question them especially if you let them check out the coins and see that they're normal coins. If someone were to question it, I'd just explain that half dollars are bigger and easier to see. I think you could even use foreign money as long as it's justified with the trick/presentation.
 

WitchDocIsIn

Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
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Half dollars are still around often enough that people don't usually question them.

The one big advantage to coin magic is that people care about money a lot more than they care about playing cards. People serious about performing realize that an audience is much more interested in coins and hopefully this means that coin magic will continue to expand and there will be more and more innovation.

They may care about money more, but that doesn't mean they'll care about the performance with money more. The adventures of the half dollar are no more interesting than the adventures of the playing card.
 
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