Monday, February 3, 2014

To Coin Purse or not to Coin Purse? Part 1

Do you Coin Purse or do you go commando? Do you carry your coins in a small leather pouch that you call a coin HOLDER (when we all know it’s really just a purse)? Or do you just let it all hang out and stroll along with a pocket full of loose, jingling coins?

If you’re a guy and you’re just starting in coin magic, you tend to shy away from carrying anything called a purse. I mean seriously, how you can impress a girl with your French Drop if you have to pull the coin out a little leather purse? Well, being a guy, and being a coin magician, I can tell you that’s exactly how I felt, until…

I was a young Air Force recruit at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. It was payday and, of course, I was broke. I had spent my last $30 on a set of Gin & Tonic coins from Gordon at Zucchini’s Tricks & Things on Cannery Row. Food you can get anywhere, but these coins were my step into the big league of magic. As I dressed that morning I stuffed the nested Gin & Tonic in my left pocket and the centavo in my right pocket. Hungry, but ready to amaze.

On a break between classes I spied a quarter on the ground and stuffed it into my left pocket where it hit something. I reached inside and found another quarter! The Caffeine Gods were smiling on me. As quick as I could I popped those 2 quarters into the Coke machine on the top floor of Munakata Hall and took a huge swig of that ice-cold elixir. Life was good.

Near the end of the morning, I decided to show off my new coin effect to my friends. I reached into my pockets and found just the centavo in the right pocket. A brief moment of confusion, a niggling fear, a twitch, then the heart-dropping realization that I had just bought a THIRTY DOLLAR and twenty five cent Coke and lost my killer new coin trick in the process.

By the next weekend, I had bought the first of many black leather coin purses that would become my lifetime hip-pocket companions. To help overcome the crushing loss of machismo (hey, it was the 80s) I quickly came up with the premise that these polished half dollars could do amazing things, so I kept them protected in a special coin “holder”. Instead of looking silly, the coin purse was now a conversation piece and slowly revealing the coins inside became the first step in building the mystery.

My name is Ben, and I carry a coin purse.