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~The Gary Michaels Magi & The Craft Grotto: Some of My Collection & Coveted Stuff

What I've Bought and/or Covet Page

Yes, the rumors are true: my cancer is back and this time it's eventually going to kill me. I was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2001, had a lower bowel resection, followed by thirty days of daily radiation and six months of once-per-week chemo (just a one-hour injection). In the Spring of 2007 I began canceling golf dates due to an unknown pain in my side. At that time I had no idea that my cancer, which had been completely gone since 2001, had metastasized to my liver (I'd had colonoscopies every year to ensure it hadn't come back). But it did. After my first regimen of chemo didn't work, I transferred to Karmanos -- the premier Cancer Institute in the Midwest. At the beginning of January, 2009, it was determined that my 2nd chemo regimen was no longer working. So now (February, 2009) I'm beginning my clinical trial of a "study drug" -- experimental chemo. As of April, 2009 the experimental chemo is keeping everything in check, which is truly a blessing. More importantly, for the most part I'm feeling better than I have since my re-diagnosis, although the fatigue limits me to being awake just 12 hours each day. But my amazing wife and my magician friends are helping me maintain my ultra-positive attitude (and keep a smile on my face :) So thanks to all of you for reading and, hopefully, for your prayers. I'm only 54 and I waited 45 years to find my guardian angel -- my wife, Laura -- whom I met at a MAGIC CONVENTION! So all things are possible with the good Lord's help!

Because this is primarily a collectors & apparatus page, first things first:

Please click on the above button to visit my friends Tim Ellis & Sue-Anne Webster's MUST-READ site re: the rippers-off & knockers-off of magic merchandise -- wish I'd thought of it!

Here's one example of what this is all about:


From: magicmaker india
To: Gary Michaels Sent: Saturday, November 8, 2008 9:20:38 PM
Subject: new in magic this November


Transparent Mental Balloon Prediction Only $ 64

*** NOTE: I skipped their other products (all also stolen) because this certainly gives you the idea***
***Also, all punctuation/grammatical errors are right from the email***

Innovative Products Every time

Magic Maker brings every time a Completely New Innovative Range of Product that you will find nowhere and again at Right Price!!!

Shop anything -Classical magic to New Apps everything you can find @Lowest Prices here with Assurance of Quality.

Shop Safer With PAYPAL, with the best in magic!!!

Please feel free to drop us an email at or call us on +91 9890303446

C 2008 Magic Maker India, All Rights Reserved.
Visit us at

On Sun, Nov 9, 2008 at 10:26 AM, Gary Michaels wrote:

Hey, Magic Fakers ~

"Magic Maker Exclusive"?? Don't you mean STOLEN from the Italian company (whose was MUCH higher quality) under the name of "Mental Balloon"? See below photo of theirs.

That final line in the ad -- "Innovative Products Every Time" really cracks me up. I think I'll post this email to my web site.

You should be ashamed. Remove me from your list -- I'm not even sure how I got on it, as I've certainly never visited your site.

~Gary Michaels

From: magicmaker india
To: Gary Michaels
Sent: Sunday, November 9, 2008 3:19:01 AM
Subject: Re: new in magic this November | Magic Fakers

Dear sir,
we got unsubscribe request, but this email is is not ther in our database.
plz. revert me with your mail id that you got its easy to make unsubscribe you.

thanking you,
for magic maker


From: magicmaker india
To: Gary Michaels
Sent: Sunday, November 9, 2008 3:14:42 AM
Subject: Re: new in magic this November | Magic Fakers

Dear sir,
seasons greetings!
thankx for the mail. plz observe the product carefully.
you will find the product is not transparent , but we introduced this product in clear transparent glass.
see the image carefully, and if you wish you are free to post it to any web site, its unique piece which is available only with our shop, even the secret behind both tricks is totally different one.

i hope this clears your doubts.

with best wishes,

thanking you,
for magic maker

I'm completely revising this page
(it's been more than four years since I've touched it)
so please bear with me -- thanks!

Meanwhile, here's the newest -- and most cherished -- addition to my collection (7/1/08):


Master craftsman Ron Reid's refurbished (to say the least) version of UF Grant/MAK Magic's Tricky Bottles.

Ron's work is absolutely unbelievable. He takes old apparatus made by Gen Grant's MAK magic, the original RnT, Milson-Worth etc. and painstakingly re-imagines them. With beautiful paint work, Okito-style decals, new labels on bottles (in this case), pinstriping, whatever it takes to make a classic of magic even cooler.

Ron is also quite simply a wonderful man. John Mendoza turned me on to his work, via one of his eBay auctions, in mid-2007 and I was just blown away.

I'll let the initial photo speak for itself -- I left it full size because this set deserves it! Any glitches seen on the tubes or bottles are from the flash, not on the items themselves.

Thank you from my depths, Ron. You're a prince among the paupers.

You can put in a request for one or more of Ron's amazing pieces by contacting him at:

ronreid at

NOTE: I removed the "@" sign to prevent web spiders from spamming him, so replace the "at" with an "@" and he'll receive your email.

I urge you -- no, I beg you -- to check out some of Ron's other pieces here:

Also, here are May, 2008 pix of my RnT & RnT2 Cabinets
-- Part of My Gertner & Fechter 'Tributes' can be seen on the left --

Some of the below pix really blow, as I didn't scan or edit many of them (you should be able to tell those that I did); also, descriptions in quotes are directly from the eBay auctions -- so don't blame me for their alleged worth ;)


Or perhaps I should say 'OWNED' ~ as I sold virtually all of my cups to Bill Palmer's amazing Cups & Balls Museum in 2006 (where they can be seen now) to purchase an RnT 'Mandarin Transformation' -- which pretty much completed my RnT collection (I did keep all of my Jim Riser cups, my Paul Fox set and Brett Sherwood's beauties -- and all of my RnT cups, of course)

eBay description: "Original P & L Cups and Balls with the hallmark on all 3 cups. Comes complete with 4 balls and NO instructions. Cups are made from aluminum and show some wear." ME: These are nearly mint, wear is so minor as to be invisible...

"Vintage P&L Style Mini Cups"

"This is a mint set of vintage P&L style mini cups. They are not hallmarked, so I can't determine the maker. I've owned these since 1977." ($45, eBay, also from Dale Houck); Me: these are terrific -- they turned out to be Kort's Kups per Bill Palmer (thanks, Bill!)... Kort was one of the real greats in magic and a very sweet man.

National Magic Miracle Cups with Liquid Finale (from Joe Berg's company); discontinued in 1945 ($212.50, eBay); here's the eBay description: "This is the vintage 1940s National Magic Miracle Cups and Balls with a liquid finish. The standard cups and balls routines are used in this effect with the finale of producing liquid from each cup - and the liquid can be produced twice from each cup. Using food coloring and crystal glasses makes this a stunning and beautiful effect. The cups measure approximately 5 inches high and 3 1/2 inches wide and and also used various fruit as well as balls for the cup and ball finish. Each of the cups is signed National Magic Co. The set has not been cleaned or polished. It is in excellent condition. This set was discontinued in 1945 as shown on page 91 of the #6 National Magic Co. catalog from Chicago - unfortunately, I do not have a copy. No instructions. The foam ball was found with them and is included."... ($212.50.00 on eBay; very rare in this pristine condition; the only other set sold on eBay since went for upwards of $350; 8/20/03 update: still haven't seen another set)...

National Magic Aluminum "Regular Cups" ($61 on eBay); eBay description: "This set of turned aluminum cups were made at least 50 years ago. They are in their original box from the National Magic Company with 6 cut sponge balls and three pages of illustrated instructions! The label on the box says "Magic Special" M125 SATIN "CUPS AND BALLS" 391/$5.00. There are no dents or marks on the outside of the cups but there are mysterious numbers printed on the inside of the cups. (Don't ask me what they mean or how they got there) The outside of the cups have a nice oxidized finish (from being in storage for 50 years) that would polish nicely! The cups measure 3 ĺ inches high and 2 ĺ inches in diameter at the opening. I don't think this set was ever used and would be a great addition for a cups and balls collector!" ME: Great cups, but the numbers on the inside were written with magic markers and make no sense. Probably should steel wool them away.

James P. (Jim) Riser's eagerly anticipated Riser Mini-Cups... Jim was kind enough to sell me one of the first sets he introduced in November, 2001 (this set was in final buffing on 11/12/01)...a steal at $165.

The Riser Jumbo Cups: the photos pretty much say it all... I believe they were $395 when available.

Left: The Riser Mini next to his Jumbo; Center: Riser Mini, JP Cup, Riser Jumbo; Right: A JP inside a Jumbo...

Jim Sisti's copper cups, spun by Kevin Care (Hank Lee, $199.95), very rare

Ross Bertram-style Charlie Miller Cups & Balls, from Ireland's Magic, Inc. ~ "A mint set of these very desirable and wonderful cups. Masterfully spun in copper measuring 3 inches high by 3 1/2 at the mouth." (per Mario Carrandi, $228 via eBay -- perhaps $100 more than their current value as of 2002); photo at left by Mario, followed by one of the same cups sold by Osama Assaf:

Rings 'n Things Copper Cups, beautifully engraved by RnT founder Mike Brazill to his close friend Jim Rector, who sold these when he needed to pay some medical bills; purchased from Bob James for $100 at MagiFest, 2003:

Rings 'n Things Mini Monti Cups in Aluminum; left to me by my mentor George Kirkendall upon his death:

Spanish Copper Mini~Cups, purchased for $100 (with the odd Spanish treasure chest in background) from Bob Little at MagiFest, 2002 (nicely etched, mint, maker unknown):

The Johnson Products CNC cups ($143, eBay)

Collectors Workshop Cups: "A Beautiful Brand New Set of Polished gold cups in the classic tradition. Purchased from for $190.00. Now it's your turn to put these stunning cups into poetic motion." (actually they're brass, but at $125 on eBay a decent buy); that said, the people at CW decided to paint the interiors of their cups BLACK, which chips and looks really REALLY awful... the good news is that they're about to switch to unpainted cups, so these may be worth something one day.

Medieval Cups: Heavy Aluminum... eBay description: "Used these cups and balls one time for a street fair for a medieval look. Work great, look great." ($22.72, and these are REALLY nice)...

Cellini Set - The Royal Touch - Autographed & Cellini's Special Edition Copper Cups

Per the eBay ad: "Jim Cellini is the undisputed King of Street Magic. A student of Slydini's, Cellini has traveled the world for the last 30 years making his living as a street magician. Learn the secrets that took him to the top. This hard to find First Edition copy of The Royal Touch is in new condition. It is one of the finest constructed books I've ever seen. This oversized hardcover book measures just over 12 3/4" x 9 1/2" and contains over 180 pages of valuable information."

"The Cellini Special Edition Copper Cups: Designed by Jim Cellini, these cups are just what you have been looking for. Each cup feels solid in your hand and show Cellini's preference for the Ross Bertram Style Cups. Cup Details: Weight -- Each cup is just under half a pound, Height -- 3 3/4," Width -- 3" inside at the mouth." ($300 for the book and cups on eBay)

MY comments: well, Cellini is indeed a brilliant worker and a true student of Slydini. The cups are GIGANTIC and built for street use: dull finish, very thick, VERY heavy... drop them all you want. They're not the same as the cups in his video, however, so he doesn't actually USE them. His own are genuine Bertram cups. Which is fine, but truthfully, these are not very close to Ross' cups, as the bottoms are much narrower. Good cups for a busker nonetheless. The book is another matter -- although REALLY poorly edited (grammatical errors abound) it's got a whole lot of useable stuff in it for you close-up folks. Cellini's a real genius. I recommend buying both if you're a cups collector.

Copper Combo Cups & Balls from Al Hayden of the Magic Castle ($81, eBay - a good price); maker unknown.

Nice set of copper cups from Daniel Lu ($35) ~ anyone know who made these?
(Answer provided by the great Bill Palmer: early Morrissey).

eBay description: "This is a set of copper spun cups and balls including 4 crochet balls and carrying sack. No instructions, use your own routine." ($26.00 -- looked like RnT in the photo but appear to be early Morrissey, when Herb was alive -- i.e. they're quite nicely-spun)

eBay description: "I'm getting out of magic: I bought these about two years ago for over eighty dollars. I have never used these. They are in great shape, the only blemish I could find was a scuffing on the edge of one of the cups, I've included a large photo so you can see what I'm talking about. That being said these are great for closeup with a large load or even small stages. If you don't like them mail them back. Shipping is $6, 48 only. Oh, I'm pretty sure they are aluminum." ($29.88 -- no idea who made them but these are HUGE: 5 1/2" H with 3 1/2" mouth. Very well spun).

eBay description: "Garcia Cups - Sharp Cups & Balls Set!

These will definitely become a collectors item and a treasure for years to come. These cups have a solid heavy copper base. They are completely chrome plated, polished to a highluster. A joy just to look at.

Two and three quarter inch opening (will hold a tennis ball), three inches high and a two and a quarter- inch indented top, which will hold all three balls without falling off. Eleven studs circle the cups making it a "sure grip." You never have to worry about the cups slipping from your grip. No single or double lines circle the cups, so the nesting is perfect in every respect.

No ugly single or double lines circle the cups, so nesting is perfect in every respect. A lovely piece of a true classic of magic.

The Garcia Cups also come with a bag with Tom Osborne's book on "Cups and Balls" absolutely FREE!"

Condition: Mint - Manufacturer: Tannen's Magic

ME: These are truly gorgeous cups although, due to their design, almost completely unusable. For the collector, you need a set (only 500 were made); they were released at $250, reduced in Genii or Magic magazines in the fall of 2003 for $150, I got them for $100 and Tannen just sold two sets in a dutch auction on eBay for a $125 starting bid -- they sold for $139 and $130).


(Again, I sold all of these to Bill Palmer's sweet 'Cups & Balls Museum' to buy an RnT 'Mandarin Transformation' from John Mendoza -- see note below about the Tayades however)

eBay description: "Only one complete set of these Tayade Cups & Balls. The ones you have seen on ebay have been sold by me! I found a box of these Hand-Painted cups and have sold all the sets except a few. I offer one complete set of cups from Tayade as follows: HAND-PAINTED W/BALLS & WANDsS, WESTERN CUPS AND BALLS (Black & Silver), WESTERN CUPS AND BALLS (black & gold), INDIAN CUPS AND BALLS W/WAND (black & Silver), INDIAN CUPS AND BALLS W/WAND (black & gold); All four sets complete in MINT condition as a lot. Bid on the entire group." So I did: $450.00 from Ron Allesi-- I later sold them to Bill Palmer, owner/operator/proprietor of the Cups and Balls Museum, member of the Inner Magic Circle and all around excellent fellow, so as to afford a set of Brett Sherwood's cups:

Mikame Craft Cups & Balls ~ "In mint condition, never used. Masterfully woodturned in exotic woods, by Mikame himself. In the original box with the original instructions. These are now VERY RARE They measure 3 1/2 inches high and 2 1/2 inches at the mouth. Check their beauty and finish in scan below. For the discriminating collector/performer. This set is made of cherry wood." (per Mario Carrandi, $200 via eBay); quite nice -- but see the deal I got on the Mikame "all three are chop" cups below...

Rare Wood MAGIC Cups & Balls Set by Mikame Craft
eBay Description: "I am forced to sell my rare set of magician's Cups & Balls manufactured by the Japanese master craftsman, Yonezo Mikame. This is THE most unusual set of Cups & Balls that you will ever own as EVERY wooden cup is gaffed and can be used as a CHOP cup! THAT'S RIGHT!! ALL THREE CUPS! And that's not all! This set comes with EIGHT BALLS, four of which are gaffed. The possibilities for a mind-blowing routine are endless! The set does come with one brilliant routine utilizing all eight balls along with other ideas for this unique set of magician's props...

"I purchased this set from a local magic dealer back in 1991 for $120.00. He didn't want to sell them, as they were a collector's item THEN, but I was able to talk him into relinquishing them to me...and they are STILL in near mint condition! Those of you who have had the good fortune to obtain a 'Mikame Crafts' original wooden magic piece will know what I'm talking about when I say that these are TOP quality props. In all my years of buying and practicing Magic, I have NEVER seen this set sold anywhere else... chances are, you have never ever seen this set before either, as it is SO-O-O RARE!

"As an added bonus, I am including a beautiful brass tipped wood wand (seen in the picture). This wand is beautifully balanced to do a perfect 'Vernon wand spin vanish' goes very nicely with this set. Sorry... I forgot to mention....When I bid on something, I Like to know up front what I'm dealing with, I'm betting you do too! I know the "RESERVE PRICE" is hidden, but I want you to know that it's the same as what I paid for it, $120.00..."

(eBay, $200 using Buy Now) -- I figured that I'd paid Mario $200 for an ungaffed set without a wand so why risk losing this gem? Plus, the lovely fiancee (now my wife) Laura let me borrow her credit card for an early Christmas present! Thanks honey! These are SWEET. And have seen only one other set -- for $450 -- since this purchase.

"Rare Set of Olsen Walnut Cups, circa 1981"

"Beautiful and mint. These cups are hallmarked with the Olsen signature and date in the bottom of one cup. Turned from walnut and super, super nice!" ($177.50, eBay, from Dale Houck's collection); Me: WOW! Now this is how wooden cups should be turned! Also, they turned out to be combo cups, an added bonus...


eBay description: "I'm selling my collection of close up magic from the '70's. Here is one of my favorites- THE CHOP CUP- CUPS AND BALLS COMBO in Chrome. The set is complete and in excellent shape. Comes with the bag and instructions, plus I'll throw in the Dai Vernon and Tom Osborn cups and balls books also." (ok so they're not "chrome" but aluminum and have no intrinsic value whatsoever, although they're in mint condition: $44.95, eBay)

"Magic Trick, Cups and Balls, Magic Christian"

"This is a Magic trick called the Cups and Balls. There are 3 lined cups with felt and square pieces of foam. The principle of the felt-lined cups: Because of the felt inside the cup, it is possible to put one sponge cube on top of a cup, cover it with the second cup and lifting it again, the sponge cube has apparently vanished. In reality it is picked up by the felt of the second cup. When you put the cup down on the pad with a bang the cube is loosened again. Thus, you can perform other routines without having to turn the cups as usual." ($9.38, eBay; purchased only because I'd never seen them before and Magic Christian has a fairly good rep; turned out to be junk -- the trick doesn't even work)


"Rings 'N' Things Copper Combo Cups: The Best Ever Made," from Mendoza

"Herb Morrissey introduced them in the early 70's, I was a little instrumental in popularizing them and Mike Brazill and Rings 'N' Things 'borrowed' the idea and made the finest set of Combo Cups ever produced. With the sole exception of Tim Star's cups (and he worked for RNT when he made them, ) there are still no sets made today that even come close the RNT's work. That is not a statement I make lightly. In over 35 years of magic, I have personally used and tried virtually every set of Combo cups produced at one time or another.

"This is the RNT copper set, which was the showpiece of their cup line at the time. The weight is perfect. The tops (bottoms,) are concaved enough to hold the balls, but not enough to make "slide-off" moves difficult or uncertain. The magnets are the perfect strength for a 100% reliable release without the need to slam the cup onto the table. And, Lula Willis' crocheted balls are still absolute perfection for any cups and balls routine. Finally, Mike's trademark "Epoxy Finish," has kept these cups looking brand, spanking new over decades, so I guess it worked. You'll never need to get out the Brasso and do these before a show. If you collect cups, you want these, but if you perform this routine, you really want these, believe me." (And want them I did: $202.50 from Mendoza on eBay)


"A BEAUTIFUL set of 'English Style' Cups and Balls made by Tayade of India. The cups are in very fine condition with no marks nor nicks on the finish. The cups measure just over 5 inches tall and come with all of the balls in the photograph. The wand may be made by Tayade as well as it has a similar design to the cups and it measures around 14 inches. The photo is a little light and does not show the beautiful dark color of the cups and the gold design. This set of cups is very hard to find, a wonderful piece for your collection!" (these lovely cups went for the absolutely unheard-of price of $631.56 -- for reference, that's about what a mint set of NON-DANNY DEW Paul Fox might fetch)


"We have had many sets of P&L cups over the years, but have NEVER came accross a set like these! They are in MINT never used condition, with the original balls,original instructions and box. Even the original legendary P&L red tissue is still there. Each cup is hallmarked." (the great Pete Biro grabbed these from Mario on eBay for $380)... although Carrandi's fibbing when he says that these are the original balls -- P&L never made a crocheted ball in their long lives.


"In MINT condition with the original box, balls and instructions. This set is just as it came out of the Petrie factory over 50 years ago! True investment quality." (bought by The Amazing Andy Scott for $280 from Mario via eBay, who stretches the truth when calling these the original balls); great: NOW I have Mendoza, Biro AND Andy to worry about when I'm bidding on cups ;)

"*Rare Set of Double Beaded Mikame Combo Cups*"

"This is the hard to find set of Mikame cups where all cups are chopped. This set has the double beads in the center and the mouth. The sets you usually see only have one bead at the center and one at the mouth. The dark stained cup in the picture is the solid cup that goes with these sets. This solid cup was purchased by me separately and has been used (but is still in excellent condtion except for the finish). The three cups are in mint, never used condition. If the winning bidder of this auction doesn't want the solid cup, I'll deduct $50 from the final auction value." (unsold by Dale Houck on eBay -- reserve not met; as you've seen, I already have a set of Mikame Triple Chopped Combo Cups -- but not with the double bead).

"Cups (for cups and balls): These cups are in good condition. Light weight and easy to use." (I believe these to be P&L aluminum cups, although there was no mention of a hallmark; they went for $32 on eBay)

"Vintage - Abbott's Super DeLuxe Cups & Balls"

"Attention Collectors of Vintage Abbott Magic: You are bidding on a Vintage set of Abbott made Cups for the Cups & Balls. To quote the Abbott Catalog: 'CLASS! PERFECTION! STREAMLINED! MODERN!' Cups are seamless, machine spun, in light weight aluminum. Mouth, 3 3/4"; Bottom, 2 3/8"; Height, 4 1/4". You are bidding on the cups only." (These went for a surprisingly high $103.50 on eBay)

"* Scarce Set of Viking Wood Cups, Inc. Solid!*"

"This auction is for a mint set of cups marketed by Viking several years ago. It includes 3 regular wood cups and a solid cup. The original custom stand is also mint. All items crafted in beautiful walnut." (Reserve of $200 was unmet; Dale Houck via eBay)

"*Beautiful Set of Large Bloodwood Cups*"

"These are the most beautiful set of wooden cups in my dwindling collection. Made of Bloodwood, they are extremely rich and warm. The are P&L style, but with one cup chopped. Mint, never used. They were made by a cabinet maker in New England. Money back guarantee on this set (less shipping charges), no questions asked. Take a chance, you won't be sorry!" (sold by Dale for $290 via eBay -- Mendoza was sniped by


Al (Chop Chop) Wheatley's cup which started it all (a gift from Ron Bauer):

RnT's 1st attempt at a chop cup -- the larger (very rare) one with Mike's brass/gold Magipoxy~baked finish; purchased from Dale Houck for $96.00:

RnT Don Alan Aluminum Chop Cup, bought from Mike Brazill in 1975 or so; the inside of the cup is still perfect, despite the flash showing flaws -- this is the one I've spent my magical life using:

RnT Don Alan Copper Chop Cup, $128.50 on eBay:

The Jim Riser/Denny Loomis Micro-Chop Cup

Available in copper or stainless (or as a combo set of both), this is a combination of Riser's superior skills spinning and Dennis' terrific routine(s); the amazing routine is done on your upturned palm, surrounded; Each set includes the micro-chop in a nice bag, load balls, LARGER load balls, a flask in a velveteen bag for a "SQUASH" finale, an alternative Topit finale, and on and on... you NEED this.

I bought one of each for collectors purposes, then a combo set for performing. I first met Denny at Fechter's in '76 so was really pleased to hear about this new venture. I've a great shot of him from the FFFF back then which I have to find and scan. Meanwhile, BUY THIS!

eBay description: "El Duco Chop Cup with black velvet bag; no longer made in aluminum" ($40.00 eBay) and Mark Wilson's "The Chop Cup Book" (somewhat rare, $66 on eBay -- normally goes for around $100); the El Duco cup is VERY close to the Don Alan cup that Rings 'n Things put out in the '70s -- which is the one I use... this one's very nice and as of 06/08 I've not seen another on eBay (and have been offered $100 for this one)...

Perfect Howard Hale Chop Cup with Chop Stick ~ 2002 birthday present from my then fiancee/now wife: this is SPECTACULAR, as all of Howard's work is. There might be 100 of these in the world:

One of the late John Dahms' Chop Cups, purchased on eBay 10/03 for $84, which would qualify as a steal; the cup itself is made from five layers of exotic woods (as seen) -- not really useful as s performing piece as the bottom fifth (the tannish layer) holds the magnet. This makes the inside's depth exactly one inch less than the height of the cup, which is four inches. But it *is* bloody beautiful:

Rare Mark Teufel wooden chop cup: so rare that initially when I wrote this on 1/2/06, after receiving the cup as a 2005 Christmas gift from my dear friend Tim Moore, we were under the impression that it was a Joe Porper (especially, as my buddy Bill Palmer pointed out, it does look like the butt end of a pool cue and, after all, that's what Joe is known for to the "rest" of the world). Joe's partner, Pete Biro, was checking to see if Joe had in fact made it when fellow chop cup afficionado Rich Mendez told me it was a Teufel. You think that's confusing?

On 3/16/09, Mario put one on eBay as a John Dahms cup! Now THAT's funny. Funny for two reasons. First, EVERY SINGLE DAHMS CUP I'VE EVER SEEN (a doxen or so) bears at least some resemblance to mine (shown above).

And second, because several years ago, after selling me an Alan Alan Sharp-Shooter as a Don Alan Sharp-Shooter, Carrandi had the balls to continue to claim (via numerous email exchanges) that it was DON ALAN's. Phil Varicchio, who had been bidding against me and a few others, had sent me an email just after the auction ended, giving me tha issue and page number of an early '60s magic magazine which had an ad for the "Alan Alan Sharp Shooter" -- complete with illustrations. Phil wound up buying it from me after I received it, as I only was collecting Don Alan items at the time.

But Mario, "The Infallible Knower Of All," still denied his mistake -- saying finally in his 1/8/02 eBay feedback to me, "KNOW YOUR MAGIC!"

ME: "Item is the 'Alan Alan Sharp Shooter' (NOT 'Don Alan'); still nice though"      Buyer: nirohere (514) Jan-08-02 14:18

* Reply by magiquarian (Mario's original eBay ID) Jan-09-02 19:30:
(Item #1051755052)

...AOK, Mario. PS: Here's the proof, from Hank Lee's site :)

"Years ago, inspired by an item in Terry Seabrooke's lecture, I set out to develop my own routine for Alan Alan's Sharpshooter. It was not an easy task. Hundreds of hours went into developing the routine before it was ever shown."

My 1st Mikame wooden chop: "From the collection of a friend, given to us by his estate. You will get... A wooden Chop Cup, with six crocheted balls (two are gimmicked). The wood Chop Cup is in a box. Printed on the underside of the box lid is 'Crafted by Mikame Craft. Made in Japan.' No instructions. There are a few slight indentations/dings, but it is in great shape." Actually it's in mint condition.

My 2nd Mikame wooden chop: "Mikame Wooden Chop cup RARE: "I found this in my attic from the old shop. It is Mikame from Japan. The Mikame Chop cup comes complete with load ball. This is not, I repeat not, the double cup: these were marketed at the same time and this is the single chop cup they put out. I was not sure it was Mikame until I went to Japan and actually met with the Master himself who was nice enough to tell me the story of the chop cups they made. The double cup and this single were marketed separately but at the same time. They are no longer made so it would be a great addition to any collection or even a usable item for your magic program; it is in MINT condition with the bottom half of the origional box it came in. If you know Mikame you know it is well made; see pic -- it does not lie." ($37, eBay; yeah, I already have one but this was too good to pass up)

eBay description: "Coca Cola Pop Can Chop Cup"... "A dollar bill is borrowed from a spectator and folded with a paper clip locking it in place and the bill appears to pass right through the bottom of the coke can and drop to the table with more uncanny actions occuring afterward. Very good condition and one that will mystify! Includes instructions and cup." (no Mikame but for only $9.95 from Kenna via eBay, why not?)...

eBay description: "The name Mikame Craft is synonymous with the highest quality magic money can buy! Until now, these products have been extremely difficult to obtain due to the fact that few of each effect are manufactured. We are very fortunate to obtain a limited quantity of some of Mikame Craft's most sought-after items! The Mikame Craft Super Cup is one such item! The cups and balls, one of the oldest tricks in magic, has now become, together with the Chop Cup, a real masterpiece of classic magic! Mikame Craft has thoroughly improved the cup by evolving it into the Super Cup, a beautiful goblet devilishly gimmicked and manufactured of Sterling Silver!

"The Super Cup allows you to not only follow the conventional routines but also display new techniques that other Chop Cups can never perform! Applicable to both ball AND coin magic, the audience is able to examine the Super Cup both before and after your routine while utilizing a gimmicked ball! We have imported a very limited (and we do mean limited) quantity of the MC Super Cup. We anticipate them to disappear rapidly, and when they're gone, they're gone for good! Be one of the few to add that touch of elegance to your act."

Me: This thing is pretty cool -- if you're a chop cup dude or chick, it's a must-have: the magnet's in the stem of the cup, and moves slowly from top to bottom, so that when you set it down face up, you can hand the GAFFED BALL out with the cup. (Franky from eBay, $100 -- less than list)

"Chop Cup by Ickle Pickle HIGH QUALITY"

eBay description: "This auction is for a Chop Cup, black velvet carrying bag, and two balls (one magnetic). Set is made by Ickle Pickle Products. Cup is 4" tall and almost 4" wide at the mouth. Cup has a very similar feel to a Ken Brooke style Chop Cup. The mouth is a little bigger, so the final load can be very impressive. Cup has one small surface scratch, otherwise is in like new condition." ($37.75 Bill "Mr. Ace Willie" Litzler); actually, this is the cup made in the Rings 'n' Things Don Alan style just after the latter went belly up, likely made by Tad Ware for Ickle Pickle -- this was back when the Pickle name was still pretty good... and the truth is that this is likely the closest to a good Don Alan-style cup you'll buy at a reasonable price: look around!

A later Morrissey Chop Cup (which included the cups to make up the combo cups set, but as they're latter-day Morrisseys, they don't even nest properly: more proof that Morrissey's newer stuff is basically junk); with Merlyn Shute's decent chop cup manual ($10.99, eBay).

For the record, my opinion is that Herb Morrissey's early items were very nice - anything made since he's passed on should be, well, passed on... his son, Dan, is a decent chap but he seems to have little talent for spinning -- or having things spun; Herb's rolling in his grave at what Junior is putting out.

eBay description: "Magic tricks CHOP CUP W/BAG...a special silver cup which the bottom has a concealed magnet, two balls, one magnet, one not and instructions with velvet carrying bag... all you need to supply is one large object that will fit inside the cup such as a rubber ball, orange, lemon etc." There was a lot more to this description ($9.00, eBay; turned out to be a later Ickle Pickle chop which isn't as nice as the earlier Tad Ware version but which is in mint condition and certainly worth nine bucks)

Not really a chop cup but here's the eBay description: "Perform a Chop Cup routine without a Chop Cup! Use a coffee cup, Styrofoam cup, or paper cup! EFFECT: This magnetic silver ring designed with a simple look similar to a wedding band. One of its sides is enclosed an extremely powerful magnet (rare earth magnet) which makes many effects easier to perform and even more effects possible. The ring can be used for close-up effects with coins or cards, mentalism effects and more! Please email me if you want to see a photo of ring. This is the Elohim ring, size 10." ($28.60, eBay); fits well and does what it says -- you'll use this in an impromptu chop cup routine.

Ravel Miracle Chop Cup: mint in box, with orig. instructions ($17.50 eBay):

eBay description: "Ravel Mini CHOP CUP; comes with aluminum cup, gimmicked ball and reg. ball , plus instructions. Purchased in 1982. Like new w/box." ($26.06).

eBay description: "Rovalís Borrowed Bill In Walnut" is a Dice Cup/Chop Cup routine using a natural looking dice cup and a borrowed bill. A dollar bill is borrowed from a spectator and the serial number is recorded on the magicians business card. The bill is rolled into a ball and is used as the ball in a chop cup routine. The bill ultimately vanishes only to be found in a SEALED WALNUT rolled within a JUMBO BILL produced as the final load. The serial number is verified as the one borrowed!!! Many routines are possible, and any routine done with other chop cups can be done with this cup. NATURAL LOOKING-like those purchased in games shops. COMPLETE EASY TO DO ROUTINE-including instructions, patter, and handling. Includes gimmicked cup and bill, jumbo bill, shot glass plus four dice. This effect is new, never been used, and used to retail (when available) for 25-30 dollars! GOOD LUCK!!!!!" ($10.50 + 6.00 S&H, eBay -- one sold for $76 on 1/23/05):

eBay description: "Beautifully spun in walnut measuring 3 inches in height x 3 inches in diameter complete with shot glass carrying bag and magnetic ball." ($66.00, from Mario); this is beautiful but Mario didn't know the maker (nor did he have the matching ungimmicked ball for that matter); have to read Mario's descriptions fairly carefully these days.


eBay description: "Scarce Set of Viking Chop & Solid Cups: Beautifully crafted in walnut, this is a well turned wooden chop cup and matching solid cup. Made several years ago by Viking." (The first of four Dale Houck items I came in second bidding on; this was bought by my chop cup collecting compadre Mike Rose (ymkguy) for $152.50.

Harry Stanley's Leather High Ball Chop Cup Set ($66, I've now lost two of these) -- note that on 8/23/02, Carrandi sold an identical cup -- with plain white crocheted balls, calling them "original" -- to "Cardiniman" for a whopping $212.50:

A "Tim Star CHOP CUP Bronze w/lined bag" from Kenna Thompson

"This is the beautiful cup made only as Tim Star could which measures 3 3/8" high with a mouth diameter of 3 1/2" along with two 1 5/16" crochet balls, weighs 8 oz.. The handmade Naugahyde bag is lined with red velvet and grommeted for the drawstring lace. Unavailable for many years, with a couple of scuffs appearing on cup, otherwise very good condition." -- sold for $264; this is very similar to Tim's RnT Don Alan cups (apart from the rolled bead at the bottom/top), although Tim's work following his stint with RnT is much rarer.

An "Al Wheatley (Chop Chop) Original 'Master' Cup -- The Original Chop Cup" from John Mendoza: "This was the one that started it all. Beautifully spun of aluminum, this is an original Al Wheatley 'Master' Cup. Wheatley's stage name was Chop Chop, so the cup eventually came to be known as the Chop Cup. Needless to say, every magic manufacturer you can imagine, plus many relatively unknown builders of the home workshop genre, took this beautiful cup and ran with it. Morrissey, Rings 'n' Things, Mikame, Tim Star, Nielsen, Ickle infinitum. If they spun metal, they made a cup. And, it was produced in an endless mediums, all variety of metals from aluminum to copper to bronze, all types of woods, porcelain, made from pop cans, beer cans, brass bells, leather dice cups, and on and on. It has become so ingrained into magic that any receptacle containing a magnet is said to be 'chopped.'

"But, this is the gorgeous cup that started it all. Wheatley's original cup was bamboo, but when he introduced this first spun aluminum cup, the trick caught on fire, with no small thanks to Don Alan and his wonderful presentation of the effect. Despite the so-called Don Alan Cup made by Rings 'n' Things years ago, Don Alan always used the original Wheatley Chop Cup, the 'Jr.' size.

"The cup is 3-1/4" in diameter at the mouth and 4" tall. If you look at the photo you can see the one detail all the pirates forgot or ignored. The bottom one and a half inches of the cup (mouthside) is almost straight sided and not at all tapered. This simple detail creates the illusion that makes the final ball look much bigger than it is, since it appears to fill the cup. If the side continued to taper out, the ball would look smaller. None of the cups made today have this feature. The cup John Robbins designed for me took this idea one step further which you know about if you've read my book or seen me lecture on the subject.

"The cup is in beautiful condition, perfectly spun and with a perfectly rolled mouth edge. This includes the original red corduroy drawstring bag, which can also serve as a pad, the original two crocheted balls and the original instructions. The flash used for the photo slightly washed out the shine of the cup, but be aware that it is a bright gleaming silver finish, almost mirror like in intensity. You can just collect this, but you're probably going to be very tempted to take it off the shelf and use it." -- sold for $157.50 by John Mendoza (Flinner) (a total steal); side-note from me: Don Alan did actually use a Rings 'n' Things cup at all conventions where RnT appeared -- I bought one immediately after seeing Don for the first time in 1976. This is a point which Mendoza concedes. Also, per Ron Bauer (and Alan himself, in Racherbaumer's book on him), Don actually introduced the Chop Cup to television audiences on the Ed Sullivan Show -- and used a Wheatley Jr.-sized cup which he had had cut down in height by one-half inch or so, to make it appear stubbier. Wheatley then had to retool his own cups to make them the same size as the one Alan used on TV; Ron Bauer has graciously given me a mint Wheatley Master cup since I wrote this. Merci, RB ~ see above;)

"Shigeo Takagi's One Cup & Ball Routine"

"This classic was pretty much state-of-the-art cups and balls magic in the late 70's when it was released. It is still a wonderful and effective routine some 25 years later. It's a beautiful one cup and ball routine where the ball appears at the tip of a wand, vanishes only to reappear underneath the cup, then vanishes from underneath the cup to the pocket and back, finally ending in the production of a large solid ball or fruit. The real stunner comes when the cup is shown immediately after producing the large ball from underneath and the cup is seen to be a solid block of wood! It never had an 'interior!'

"The cup is beautifully turned wood. I'm not sure who actually made the cup, but they were imported and I suspect it is Mikame's early work, guessing from the distinct rings at the top of the cup. Whoever it was, the work is gorgeous. The routine can be done standing and is entirely self-contained. The instructions are illustrated by Ton Onosaka in his usual crystal clear fashion. As specified in the included instruction booklet, only the cup is provided. In addition, you will need your own crocheted balls and a wand. In mint condition." ($78, eBay, from Mendoza, bought by TommyTarantula)

"Super Dice Stacking Chop Cup Leather"

"This is Magic Methods' leather dice cup, great for stacking dice. This cup has the additional ability to perform other miracles, as it is also a chop cup. One of the five included dice has been gimmicked for the chop cup. Of course, you can also use chop balls or a rolled up dollar if you prefer. In any case, I am including two huge final loads, two 2 inch dice, which I purchased for $10.00 each. A great close up effect." ($62, eBay, from markmagic, bought by ez-wizard at a price WAY inflated by me because I'm sick and tired of losing chop cups. Eat THAT, wizard)

My Meager Himber Collection (Apart from my Wedding Ring:
See Main "Magic" Page)

An original Richard Himber wallet (with all of the trimmings) from Mario Carrandi ($150). Also bought the 21-Routines-with-a-Himber-wallet booklet from Raven Magic ($5.75, eBay)

Also won auctions on several Richard Himber items: Sheet Music, Music Cards, an original 78 rpm EP and a current (cheap) electro-plated gold signet ring (I was married in Himber's own personal wedding ring 8/30/02 -- really; just ask Kenna Thompson)... funnily enough, we met Richard Osterlind at Klosterman's home early in 2002, just after I won this collection: his Himber routine is cool but his borrowed, non-folding coin in bottle is tremendous.

A 1944 Himber Newsweek Production oddity, oddly (C)1966... check this out:

"My old EZ magic catalog lists Richard Himber as the originator of this trick. This trick is purely for the collector out there, since it is pretty old, and the Newsweek does not look anything like a contemporary copy of the magazine. This one has a WW2 bomber on the cover, and a headline about the 'new' American Bombers being a shadow over the Reich.

"The effect: (should you be transported back in time about 6 decades and be able to perform it) A Newseek magazine is shown and grows in size about 4 times, until it is huge. Then flowers scarfs, a rabbit, etc. are produced from its folds.

"Again, you will never perform this, and even in its era, it probably never got performed since it is not too practical or baffling... but for a serious magic collector, it may be perfect!

"Complete with instructions, copyrighted 1966, which means the magazine was out of date, even when it was brand new. Looks brand new today, never used (see above regarding performability!). If it came in any special packaging, that is long gone, but the prop and the instructions from mid-1960ís (?) are here and mint!" ($24.99, eBay -- probably overpriced but I've never seen one before or since)

"Richard Himber The Man and His Magic" (book):

"Hardcover published by Magico Magazine in 1980. First Edition. Edited by Ed Levy. In brown cloth binding with gold stamped cover and spine. 128 pages. Book contains dozens of tricks made famous by Himber as well as vintage advertisements for the effects with the all important instructions. Himber was a bandleader and musician by profession but also a respected magician who delighted in fooling magicians.

"Included are The Trick that fooled Harry Lorayne, Coin in the Bottle, Stabbed in the Pack, Ring-A-Ding, Repeat Ring on a Stick, Monu-Mental, Slately Sensational, tricks with coins, cards, money, and more. There is a chapter on Book and Magazine Tests and Mental Effects. Himber paid a considerable sum to reputable publishers to secretly gimmick their magazines for him. If you own the magazines these instructions are invaluable.

"Book is in Very Good condition. Pages are clean and bright. I could not find this book for sale or auction on the Internet." ($75, eBay -- if you're a Himber fan, this one's a great read: check out the Senator Clarke Crandall's open-letter/rant in Genii... and Lorayne's clever response)

"Extremely rare and desirable this is the original Himber 100 dollar silk. In very fine condition measuring 15 x 37 inches." ($70, Mario Carrandi via eBay); this IS rare -- Klosterman hadn't seen one in several years.

"One Richard Himber Genii Magazine, Volume 28, NO1, 2 Sept-Oct, 1963 mint condition." ($3.99 eBay)

"Richard Himber's 'Now You See It' Unopened (1978)"

"One trick: Richard Himber's 'Now You See It,' unopened, 1978, by Supreme Magic Mint Condition." ($9.99, eBay); Me: I'd like to tell you about this but it was the first item I've ever had lost in the mail.

Miscellaneous Stuff

Check the speling on the "Heavy-Dudy" closs-up cace [sic sic sic], $39, eBay, turns out that you can buy these at Lowe's for $24.99 so I bought another there)...

And which properly-dressed Wizard could do without that hat? One presumes that the cat is sold separately, especially as it is identical to our current feline, Oreo (the cap was a $9.95 on eBay gift for Laura -- from Hocus Pocus in Philly); grabbed the better (but nowhere near Kirkendall quality) (Tannen?) Ring-Flight, also from Hocus Pocus ($51, eBay)...

The House of Babcock's "Mini-Sucker Die Box" ($115: this thing's a real beauty) and the 8" RnT Rings from Dale ($100):

And the Deluxe Raven Kit ($47.77) as well as the Fantasio Vanishing Flute ($17.77, which is about average -- nice for a stage performer -- I'll likely be parting with it soon) ...

Plus Al Cohen's excellent Coin Funnel ($29.95) & Sasco's Scotch 'n Soda ($19.00) and Scotch 'n Soda Houdini coin...

Won auctions on an ancient Rod thru Glass (quite cool at $20.50) and a basic Johnson Products Okito Coin Box ($12.77)...

Then I bought David Blaine's signed & numbered "Frozen in Time" poster -- Blaine's streetwise but not real art-smart: he numbered them in the farthest lower left corner, leaving less than 1/16" for matting and framing; also, mine just says "21," rather than "21/100" and came with no certificate of authenticity; his man Colin (of D. Blaine Productions) claims to be hooking me up with the latter, as well as providing a free "Street Magic" video (I'm still waiting two years later allegedly because his rep was in the twin towers of 9/11) for helping out with my suggestions but... ($100 from D. Blaine, $333 after framing). Worth every penny because Dave's the first cat to come out of literally nowhere and get his own TV special since -- well, since The Masked Moron and, before that farce, since Dave Copperhead in 1980 or so when Mister Right Place At The Right Time walked off with Henning's abandoned gig. Also, there seems to be the very real possibility that Blaine will die performing any of his next stunts. And despite the levitation BS, I do admire Blaine's audacity ~ it's difficult not to...

And these Hippity Hop Rabbits (Abbott's, circa 1940s, $45, eBay 10/01)...

David Hemingway's rare Supreme Magic Bean Cup ($23, the Magic Castle via eBay)

Unusual & rare dice stacking set ($32, the Magic Castle via eBay)

An 8" 3-ring set from parts unknown but older than Rings 'n Things ($5.00 from Bob Keyser -- P&L's owner/successor -- via eBay)

What was described on eBay as a "Large lot of stuff; will name some of it: Okito box with book by Lewis Ganson, 'The Magic Book' by Harry Lorayne, 'From Mephisto Notebook,' 'Should I Use Doves' 1st edition (1979), 'Ropes with a Different Twist' by Ronald J. Dayton (1979), 'Albert Goshman Presents The Card In The Purse,' 'The Mendoza Cups and Balls Routine,' 'Zombie the Floating Ball' by Lewis Ganson, lots of magic handkerchiefs, lots of misc. stuff"... ($79.00 on eBay): apart from the manuscripts, this wound up being worthless junk -- you win a few you lose many...

Harbin's Balls & Tubes ($39.95 + shipping, from Franky on eBay -- $20 discount)...

Ickle Pickle's Tote Bag Deluxe (surprisingly nice velvet change bag with Holiday Tie extras)...($33.00, eBay)

"The Ultimate Expanded Shell and The New Expanded Shell. Both mint with original instructions. Expanded Half Shell is a Kennedy 1971." ($23.50, Mario Carrandi via eBay); excellent utility props.

Same lot: "Watch Box from India, with lock and two keys and instructions. Very good condition." Again, actually mint.

Same lot: "Sand Frame, made of wood and glass. Japan. Includes instructions. The Sand Frame is the early Tenyo model. Very good condition. We have decided to keep the auction as it is, and not remove the frame for separate auction. The white cardboard box the frame is in, by the way, has 'Sand Frame' written on it in ink by someone, if that makes a difference to you guys and gals who want pristine containers." This turned out to be the prize of this lot (though I wanted it for the Mikame chop cup: this is the Tenyo M-35 CARD IN (Cherry) FRAME made in the late '50s/early '60s (per TenyoWorld) which was actually manufactured by Tricks Co. & distributed by Tenyo; had the original instructions printed on Tenyo's trademark tissue-thin paper.

Lastly from the lot: "Chalet Magic's 'Impossible Penetration' (all wood) Item is hand-marked on bottom with 'Chalet 2917' and 'C. Miller' (see last photo). Excellent condition." -- (C. Miller is Clarence Miller, of course); the latter item is primarily basswood (three different versions of this effect were made); this lot was one of my finest purchases on eBay to date: each of the items were shown to Ken Klosterman, who concurred that this lot was a special buy.

I wound up selling the Miller/Chalet item for $33 and the Tenyo Sand Frame for 75$ on eBay, 12/02.

"I'm selling my collection of close up magic from the '70's. Here is another one of my favorites- THE HOPPING HALF by Johnson precision magic. This set was purchased back in the late '70s. Is in excellent condition and comes with instructions." ($25, eBay -- a steal)

Two of the first tricks I ever owned, back when I demo'd at Milwaukee's Moon Fun Shop: E-Z Magic's Hat Loader: "E-Z Hat Loader, Inst. No. 54 - box reads including egg, glass of milk, tube with hole in it and says 20' streamers, BUT DOESN'T HAVE THE STREAMERS - maybe could use your own, otherwise excellent condition, box has 2 tabs missing -- SEE PICTURE."

And their Joe Karson Egg Mat ($17 total, eBay)... "Chinese Egg Bag (originated by Joe Karson, of Zombie fame) E-Z Magic Inst. No. 139 - includes a woven mat with wood egg with nylon thread loop - includes instructions and original envelope -- SEE PICTURE." These are in fair condition but bring back great memories. Karson's egg mat was one of the first effects I owned.

Another set of 8" Rings 'n Things Rings, this time with the original packaging and instructions ($81, eBay):

Dariel Fitzkee's "Rings In Your Fingers" -- "First 1946 edition, hardbound with 120 pages. Very fine copy." (per Mario Carrandi, $10 via eBay); look for Fitzkee's trilogy -- it's worth owning.


"Sealed and in perfect condition, this SET OF 4 SEPARATE VERY RARE VIDEOS is of Don Alan's MAGIC RANCH TV SHOW. These are Studio Quality from the original shows and were produced by William H. Mcllhany from privately held footage.

"These are VHS format and each is in it's own shelf sleeve.

"Three of the videos each have four separate shows. The fourth video has one show PLUS Rare Stills and Footage Out-takes!

"Guest stars (taken from the labels) include Jack Gwynne, Johnny Platt, Clarke Crandall, George and Betty Johnstone, Al Flosso, Richard Himber, Jimmy Reneaux, Sam Berman, Karrell Fox, Jay Marshall, Chan (Vic Torsberg), Ralph Pierce, and Neil Foster.

"Because of the rarity of these videos and the limited amount of video that is available on the stars captured on these videos, these tapes have become a highly prized collectors item. I have only once seen these offered anywhere and they were sold in two hours with dozens of people still trying to buy them.

"The effects shown in this prize collection of stars are timeless and will spur magicians to new and greater heights for many years to come." ($81, eBay) These were worth every cent -- priceless Alan footage (which later filled Racherbaumer's book with nearly the only pix available) and some great guests: Crandall and Foster perhaps fare the best, although it's HILARIOUS to watch a stern Johnny Platt totally blow his performance. Don Alan's quite simply the most natural close-up man I've ever seen, living or dead (fortunately I *also* saw him live several times); this is an absolute must-have set for anyone serious about improving their act.

"This is a set of vintage early '70's eight inch linking rings made by Rings 'n' Things. Purchased in Washington, DC. All complete but no instructions." (Yep, another RnT set, $65, eBay)

"This auction is for a Vintage 1940's or 50's Illuminated Radiant-Ray ANGEL - GLO Christmas Tree Top with a 'Magic Wand.' She is made of 'unbreakable plastic' and comes complete with lamp & cord. She can be used as a Christmas Tree Topper, a Mantle Decoration, a Night Light or will even hang on the Wall or in the Window! This piece was made by the Glolite Corporation in Chicago, Illinois. It is about 8" tall X 6 1/2" wide. This piece is in Very Good Condition ...You will not be disappointed in this purchase." ($17.00, eBay -- looked AMAZING on our Christmas tree)

"An exact replica of the P&L Utility Reel, in mint condition." ($20.00, Mario Carrandi via eBay)

"You are bidding on 4 Lecture notes. 4 of the best ever. 'Michael Ammar's 1993 World Tour Convention notes' includes... Magic Paper, The 110 Pound, 6 Foot Card Trick, The Self Printing Business Card, Dining on Dollars, The Matched Cards, Fast Fold, Fist of Frost, and his Trademark... 'Shadow Coins.' Next, Rick Johnsson of 'Striking Vanish' fame's booklet entitled 'You're Putting me On.' 7 Effects with Bills, Cards, Jardine Ellis routine without the rings or the rope???, Ring and Rope, Mentalism, and more. This is a signed copy. Autographed to Sid Lorraine by Rick. 'The Fred Kaps Lecture Book' includes Performance theory, International coins thru table, One cup three ball chop cup routine, Shortchange routine, Ring and silk move, Another Click Pass, Newspaper to dollar bills, Much more. The last page on 'Professional views on doing professional magic for the Layman' is a wonderfully inspiring mini essay. Finally, 'Kaps on Coins' contains 12 effects with coins, a nice HooCoin piece, even a ring on string bit. Retail for all 4 is over 30 dollars, but there's much more than 30 dollars worth of useful material in these combined pages. I hope you get a good deal." (I did -- $15.50, eBay); the Kaps books were meant to accompany 35mm footage, the Ammar stuff is typically great and my late friend Johnsson's booklet nearly brought me to tears. Rick wasn't really my "friend" -- he just seemed like it in the two lectures of his I saw in the '70s... a Dusheck kind of guy.

"For those fortunate enough to have seen Jim Cellini perform or lecture, this video needs no introduction. For those not so fortunate, here is a rare opportunity to see an expert in the field of 'Street Magic'. Jim will charm you, he'll baffle you (sometimes you'll already know the secret, but he'll still baffle you), he'll entertain you (teaching you how to make your own routines, more entertaining) and when you reach the end of the lecture, you'll understand why Jim is recognised the world over as 'MAGIC'S GREATEST STREET ARTIST'. During this lecture, you will get to know Cellini, understanding that everything about him has a reason, his clothes, his words, his manner. There's priceless advice on gaining, controlling and keeping audience attention, add to this, breathtaking moves with 'The Rings' - Something hilarious with a thumb tip (which every table hopper should use!) - 'Flip Stick' - Visible 'Coins in Glass' - His amazing 'Glass Vanish' and reproduction - Details on the pouches, suit and TopIt he uses - Self-contained 'Misers Dream' - 'Everywhere and Nowhere' - Continuous cigarette productions (with details of tonguing) - The most direct shell free coins across routine ever! - Card colour changes - Card to pocket, Ambitious Card - Slydini's Untying silks (note from me: these are knot explained) & a one packet Sugar Express routine. Repeat ball and coin productions, culminating with his excellent 'Cups and Balls' routine -- So much, in just 80 minutes that you'll watch again! and again! and again!" ($31.13, from Sweden via eBay); hmmmm... what can I say? This cat's left the streets behind but is still well worth your catching him here. His rings and cups are quite cool -- especially some of the rings psychology -- and the coins across is a ballsy miracle (a similar version of which is also seen on the early Don Alan Magic Ranch tapes). You'll use Jim's version of Slydini's Sugar Express.

"SHANE CHAPMAN RARE BOOKS; THE ITEM: DON ALAN -- CLOSE - UP TIME; PUBLISHED - USA - THE IRELAND MAGIC COMPANY; DATE: FIRST PUBLISHED 1951; DESCRIPTION: SOFT COVERS; PAGES: 20; SIZE: HEIGHT - 21.5 cm WIDTH - 13.5 cm; CONDITION: LIGHT RUBBING TO EDGES - CLEAN AND PRESENTABLE VG; CONTENTS: A SELECTION OF GREAT MAGIC TRICKS INCLUDES .......... IT'S FLASHY ! .... CORNER RIFLE FORCE BY TIMING .... A SUBTLE ONE WAY FORCE DECK ..... THE INFLATION PENCIL ..... CARD IN THE EGG ....... BILL IN THE ORANGE ..... STUCK UP CARD ........... etc ..........GREAT MAGIC FROM THIS GREAT MAGICIAN!" ($22.64, from England via eBay); well, it's great magic all right but that's some price -- considering I just bought Alan's "Pretty Sneaky" (1st 1958 edition, nabbed in 1/02 for $5.00); still worth it.

"The Discoverie of Witchcraft - Reginald Scott - In 1584, Reginald Scot wrote a book that exposed the truths about how supposed witches accomplished their miracles, and included a section on legerdemain and sleight of hand. It is the first information printed in the English language on conjuring, and remarkable for what it contains.

"The chapter on Magic includes: Cups and Balls, Manipulation of Small Balls, Growing Ball, Lapping, Coin Vanishes, Audible Coin Vanish, Changing Coin, Coins Across, Coins Into A Spectator's Hand, Clip Vanish, Crawling Coin, Coin Through Table, Coin Shell, Copper/Silver Coin, Buddha Papers, Card Magic, Injog and Outjog Controls, False Shuffling, The Glide, Aces Change To Kings, Glimpse and Force, Card Into Nut, False Handkerchief Knots, Grandmother's Necklace, Burnt and Restored Shoelace, Cut and Restored Shoelace, Magical Boxes, Magic Coloring Book, Bizarre Magick and much more.

"A wonderful hardcover of over 280 pages published by Kaufman & Greenberg -- Mint condition." ($58.00, eBay)

"Don Alan: The Greater Magic Video Library, Volume 28

"This classic tape contains Don Alan's most famous routines and then some: The Chop Cup; Cigarette Through Quarter; Invisible Deck; Big Deal; 3-1/2 Clubs; The Card Stab; Scotch & Soda; The Bowl Routine; The Coat Hanger; Ring Flight; and The Big Nut.

"One VHS tape. Very good condition from non-smoking house." (eBay, $30); I DEMAND that you buy this if you're a serious close-up worker; even Don's bad toupee can't detract -- genuinely one of our best.

"Large Silk Magic LOT"
"This is a good size lot of silks. If you are working performer, you will use these. Most all are in great condition, just been stored for years, so some need a quick steaming. The lot includes:
36" Rainbow Starburst Silk (one corner worn), P&A Rabbit 'The End' Silk, Merry Christmas Silk, Long 3 of Hearts Streamer Silk, American Flag Silk, MANY 6" to 18" (some bigger) solid silks." ($45.59, eBay); very good buy:


"Nicely crafted, the famous mirror paddle!" ($9.95 from Mario via eBay); nicer than expected -- real glass mirror, looks like Supreme Magic.

"Nesting Wands Comedy Magic Trick"

"This is a set of six nesting wands... not your normal five! They are each made of hard plastic and are very solid. The effect is that a magician hands the assistant a wand. As soon as that wand is taken another wand appears in the magician's hand. This is repeated until the assistant is holding six wands, each wand placed in a funny method which gets lots of laughs. The wands not only magically appear, but each wand is a different color and a different length (16 inches to 9 inches in length). See the photo. This wand has sold for up to $30 in American magic shops." ($15.71, from Denmark via eBay); bought as a gift for my mentee, Megan -- these are VERY well made and a great addition to her act. 7/22/05 update: Long unavailable, Soren has these again so I bought two sets for myself (they're now $30/set USD with shipping); email him at if interested.


"Wonderful book with many of his classic routines. Excellent condition. Hardly ever opened! 306 page hardcover from L&L Publishing." ($29.00, eBay); what can you say? Great magic from our best current teacher.


"24-inch Royal Magic 'SNARF;' Pure silk; a clever comedy silk that will draw chuckles, giggles and laughs from the audience. No matter how you turn this silk, it will never say 'Thank You' -- this item purchased from a local magic shop for $14.95 in the '70s and has never been used. We will start the bidding low; don't pass this one up -- good luck." (I didn't -- $1.99, eBay)


"Made CA 1940's in mint condition with original instructions. An early classic. THIS A BREMA SET FLAT TOP. ALTHOUGH NOT HALLMARKED, THEY ARE THE LATER ONES SOLD BY MIKE KANTER IN THE 1940'S. ORIGINAL BREMA KANTER INSTRUCTIONS ARE INCLUDED." ($30.50, Mario via eBay -- unfortunately, Mario *also* sold this to my friend Eric Wolf, so I didn't get it after all )


"Chrome tips with Mother of Pearl finish. Beautiful, mint condition. See scan." ($30.00, Mario via eBay); nice all right but not nearly as sweet as my magi~pal Eric Wolf's sets.

Here are Eric's:


"Mouth Coils - Two Dozen -- New - Unopened Package; package of two dozen mouth coils for less than the price of one dozenl if this item brings $10.00 or more, I'll include a video on how to make mouth coils -- it don't get any cheaper than making your own." (although I won these at $6.50, I paid the $10 just to get the video -- thinking that I might be able to make the thumb tip coils now that that source has dried up)...

"A classic effect in mint condition. Magician shows a "normal" deck of cards, intact. Spectator thinks of a card aims a miniature gun at deck held by magician shoots the gun and his choosen card is found with a bullet hole in it." ($31.03, from Mario via eBay). Well this little item put a temporary dent in my relationship with Mario, as this is NOT a 'Don Alan Sharp Shooter' (because that item was never put on the market and was an entirely different effect) but IS 'Alan Alan's Sharp Shooter' per an ad in a 1960 issue of MUM found by Phil Varricchio -- who then purchased this from me). Don's personal effect involved an actual bullet being slammed against the closed deck with his hand and a flattened spent lead "bullet" being dropped from the back of the pack, followed by the selected card being found with said hole in it. Thanks to Ron Bauer for describing (Don) Alan's actual version.

"The Black & White Trick"

"This is Bruce Cervon's 'The Black & White Trick' book. It is in practically new condition. It does not have the dust jacket. The book is 151 pages of several different versions and handling of an amazingly stunning 'Oil & Water' and 'Follow the Leader' card trick. The book has been professionally written by Mike Maxwell and published by L & L Publishing. It comes complete with the cards that Bruce designed himself to create this effect. This book also contains many sleight of hand sleights that are transferrable to professional sleight of hand." (a sweet deal at $10.50, eBay)

"Close-Fantasies Book 1 By Paul Harris"

"This is a great magic book. Paul Harris changed the way close-up magicians thought back in the seventies and still to this day is considered the Godfather of Close up! Some of the tricks in this book are Double Decker, a great color changing deck trick, (I have burned several people with this one), Fantasy Aces, Flap Jacks and 10 more great tricks. This is a great addition to any magician's library. If you like some of David Blaine's work, let me let you in on a little secret. A lot of what he does comes from Paul Harris. This book is in great condition, it has minor wear, but otherwise perfect. Published in 1980. As a bonus if any one buys 3 or more of my Paul Harris Books, I will throw in a Paul Harris Video Tape for free. This tape contains several Paul Harris tricks with explanations." (I got all three at $10.49 each, eBay, so I also got the lame tape: Harris is one of my favorite magicians from the 70s/80s, but boy does this cat look & act weird in performance).

"Close-Fantasies Book 2 By Paul Harris"

"Some of the tricks in this book are The Time Machine, The Floating Deck, Daryl's Elevator Repair and 8 more great tricks."

"Close-Fantasies Book Finale By Paul Harris"

"Some of the tricks in this book are Electric Aces, Mickey Mouse Math, Torn and Restored Deck and 17 more great tricks."

"The Thought Transmitter!"

"Here just one of the effects supplied by John Cornelius, the maker of the incredible Thought Transmitter. Show a wallet held closed by a rubber band around it and tell the spectator that there is a prediction inside. Ask her if she has any idea what it is. She says "No." The wallet is opened and inside a piece of paper has the word "No" on it. Ha Ha, very funny. So to really impress her, with another piece of paper have her write anything, put it into the wallet, wrap the rubber band around it and hand it back to you. The wallet may be placed inside your pocket so it is complete out of sight. You then say what was EXACTLY WRITTEN! Really very clever how this is done and you don't have to worry about a thing it is very easy to do. Along with some great routines by John you'll really utilize the many possibilities of this versatile wallet. It fools magicians! And you can use it to hold your "stuff" too!" ($40, from Cornelius at Orlando's IBM)...

If you like or use the Cornelius TT, here's a link to an interesting discussion of same, particularly involving Don Alan's "The Invisible Pack"...

Thought Transmitter Thoughts

"Our Biggest Baddest!.... NIB Neodymium Magnet"

"In this auction we are offering our #10, NIB ( Neodymium, Iron, Boron ) magnets. Compared to hardware store or average refrigerator magnets, these are much more powerful! These #10 magnets were acquired as surplus. They are new and nickel plated, measuring .75" square, and 0.25" thick. The grade is N35 MGOe. The polarity on these magnets is simple, North on one face South on the other. They are brittle, although not as brittle as our thinner NIB magnets. A sharp blow will break them. One of these magnets can hold up over 40lbs. of iron, rather unbelievable for their size! The uses for these magnets are limitless." ($3.20 each on eBay; these are AMAZING -- tiny, stronger than any I've seen which were five times their size -- I'm buying more)

"Issues of The Magical Digest"

"You get all that I have of them. The issues are from the early 50's thru the mid 50's. I guess there are most of volumes 1-7 here. Some missing, and some duplicates. I have not cataloged each issue, so I don't know what's all here...but you can have them all. A description from the inside: 'A monthly independent magazine giving publicity and information of interest to all devotees of the magic art'. Published in London." ($5.00, eBay)

"Don Alan Tops Magazine 1961"

"One issue with Don Alan in Tops magazine September, 1961, Volume 1 Number 9; fine condition." ($4.99, eBay; yep, I'm becoming quite the DA devotee)

"Don Alan and Ed Sullivan Linking Ring Magazine"

"One issue with Don Alan and Ed Sullivan Linking Ring Magazine. September, 1960, Volume 40 Number 7. Fine Condition." ($4.99, eBay; this was the appearance which turned close-up magic into what it is today -- for lay people at least; it was also the first time anyone performed a Chop Cup routine on national television)

"Tossed-Out Deck"

"The Tossed-out deck is an unbelievable mentalism effect made popular by the late David Hoy. Three audience members are chosen at random. The audience members are ask to stand (no one has to come up on stage). The deck of cards is wrapped in a rubber band and tossed to the first volunteer who is asked to peek at a card towards the front of the deck. The deck is now tossed to the second volunteer who is asked to quickly peek at a card towards the center of the deck. The deck is tossed again, this time to the last volunteer.
"You state you are going to attempt to reveal the names of the three selected cards and ff you name the correct cards, the volunteers should sit down. One after the other, you name 3 cards, each volunteer sits down, you got it right!
"This effect is STRONG and is ideal for large audiences. The effect works itself with no forcing on the magician's part. The deck does all the work for you. We have added some subtlies to the routine to make it stronger. You will love doing this effect and you will love the unbelivable audience reaction you get!" ($3.95 on eBay -- retails for $9.95)

"The Complete Mike Rogers"

"The late great trade show expert, Mike Rogers, was one of our finest close up men with an accent on fun and entertainment. Here is Mike's work. Over 50 tricks and routines that have been used by Mike professionally over the years. All described with bits of business, the touches, and the lively 'keep it moving' style of Mike Rogers."

250 pages
Illustrated, photos
Over 50 Routines!

"Retails new for $25.00. First Edition 1975. The book is in good condition." ($19.55, eBay -- I feel terrible that I didn't know that Mike had passed away -- at the time I wasn't subscribing to MAGIC or Genii: one of the real giants in our biz)

"Cigarette Through Quarter - Johnson!"

"A quarter and a cigarette are borrowed. Then, right under their noses, you push the cigarette through the center of the quarter. Let the effect sink in, then pull the cigarette back out. Watch them rub their eyes as you're returning the borrowed articles. You won't believe the quarter we send you is gimmicked, even after you've seen it! One of the greats! This is a Johnson Quarter, the best mechanical gimmick available! The quarter is in excellent condition. Instructions or routine are not included. Retails new for $30.00. Here is your chance to get a good deal on a great effect! (great at only $14.50 -- I have a Sasco with the round rubber-banded "flipper" so the JP version is just for collectors purposes)

"Stack of Quarters (The Cap and Pence) - Johnson"

"The classic Cap and Pence effect. A stack of quarters is placed on the back of the performers (or the spectator's) hand and is then covered by a vinyl cone. Upon lifting the cone, the coins are seen to have vanished. Reproduce the coins from the other hand or conclude the trick as a penetration through the hand. Other routines are possible -- such as the individual vanish of the coins and their reappearance beneath the cone, and more... No instructions or routine provided, just hit the books, like a true magician, and you'll realize many of the possibilities available. Another quality Johnson Product. Retails new for $25.00. Here is your chance to get a good deal on a great effect! The gimmick is new and in perfect condition!" ($19 on eBay)

"Petrie & Lewis Limited Magic Book (1992) -- #210 -- SIGNED"

Authors: Walker, Barbi and Seaver, Robert

Pages: 277

"Any magician or magic collector knows how tough this book is to find. There are a handful of modern day magic books that have 'vanished' or eluded us, this is one of those books. The P&L Book was published in 1992 by Byron Walker - San Leandro, California. It was edited by Barbi Walker and Robert Seaver, in which it contains 277 pages. The book measures 9 x 12 1/2 inches, is a First Edition and LIMITED to ONLY 1000 Copies. THIS IS NUMBER 210 AND SIGNED BY PUBLISHER BYRON WALKER. I bought one of these at a local magic shop in 1992, and it cost me $125.00, consider what this is worth now. The book contains the history of Petrie & Lewis, copies of their advertisements, list of tricks with instuctions, and twelve pages of color pictures of many of the tricks. This book is in Brand New Condition and has NOT been USED. The binding is tight, all pages intact, and clean. The cover corners are sharp, etc.. This book is great for the magician that wants a reading copy, or put on the shelf as an investment.

"This book covers the history and magic of the Petrie-Lewis Manufacturing Company which made some of the finest American magic products. The book begins with an extensive history of the company including photographs of the manufacturing floor. The next section is similar to the Thayer Instruction Sheet books in which the catalog description and associated instruction sheets are presented side by side and prove valuable to the collector who finds that the apparatus has been separated from the instructions.

"The instruction sheets are broken into the categories including bags, bottles, cans & lotas, firecrackers, cups & bowls, and much more. Perhaps P&L was best known for its metal products such as the Passe Passe bottles, lotas, and Mephisto or Ching Soo firecrackers. The cards section contains among many others the 'Ultra' Card Rising Stand,' 'Ultra Card Sword,' and 'Cherchez La Femme.' The 'Aquarium for Goldfish Production' is completely self- working and self-contained. Virtually all if not all of the P&L ever manufactured are included in here including all the tube, wand, flower and miscellaneous effects you would expect to find. 'The Books of Ching Soo' is also included which involves books threaded through a frame which penetrate a ribbon.

"From the catalog description 'Shooting through a Woman' is 'one of the best stage effects that has been brought out in recent years.' This contains the complete explanation of the illusion which involves the shooting of a bullet and trailing ribbon through a selected card and the woman who held it to the target behind.

"The last section, 'Additions and Curiousities,' has extensive coverage of the rare card ladder effect including how the final one was reconstructed from pieces form the remains of the P&L workshop. Also in this section are some drawings and other effects, which were never made commercially available. Next follows eight full-color pages of photographs of various P&L effects to complement the catalog illustrations and other Black and White photographs presented throughout the book. ($99 on eBay -- less than original list)

REALLY BIG NOTE FROM ME: This book is the sole reason that RnT II exists today -- one day I hope to get around to that story; it all began with a three-hour phone call from me to Mike Brazill about putting together "The Rings 'n Things Book"... the next thing you know we were starting up a new version of RnT, with Mike and myself as co-founders. Of course we're both completely out now but the rest of the saga needs to be known. It might even be more interesting (and a lot better READING!) than our original plan for the book itself. Unfortunately, with the return of my cancer, that may never happen...

"In A Class By Himself: The Legacy of Don Alan; Written By Jon Racherbaumer. Hardback, sealed, dustcover, 309 pages." ($35, eBay).

Me: This book is pure bullshit, and Falanga, Racherbaumer et al should be ashamed. Rather than actually WRITING a book about the man who practically invented entertaining close-up and his work, they've taken a few of the Magic Ranch videos, printed some vidcaps and the accompanying patter and added two transcripts of the very ill Don Alan rambling at the end of the book. Ron Bauer, perhaps the man who knew Alan best (and whose project this was), is reduced to writing a foreword. Pathetic. Buy the Bill McIlhaney's videos.

"Viking / Miller Minature Production Box Magic Trick"

"This auction is for a Viking / Miller Minature Production Box - Magic Trick. A small wooden box is shown completely empty. At a snap, a 2" sponge ball or a 12" silk instantly and visibly appear. It resets in seconds and completely baffling. This little box is open on three sides and has a removable lid. Made of select exotic woods and brass hardware. I bought this new, and have NEVER used it for performance. It did not come with instructions, but it's easy to work and self explanatory. These currently retail in Magic Shops or websites for $40.00 to $50.00. In UNUSED Near Mint Condition, great to use or for the collection." ($31, eBay; a terrific deal but unfortunately it was packaged with the P&L Book -- unbeknownst to moi, so it went out with the rest of the wrapping -- the thing's like 1" square and easy to overlook without a packing slip - grrrrrrrr...)

"Vintage Haenchen Sucker Coin Box"

"This vintage sliding sucker coin box is vintage Haenchen. Made before Viking purchased the rights to the Haenchen line. It's beautifully made and works perfectly. Small enough to fit in your pocket to add some vintage class to your coin routines." ($45, eBay, from Dale Houck); Me: this is a quite nice version of Fred Haenchen's 1931 effect, "Maggie's Night Out," but without the "hidey~home" box; Wild Magic sells an equally good substitute...


"In mint condition the classic $1.35 trick locking type with 1964 Kennedy half (real silver ). Scarce!" ($42.22, eBay, from Mario); Me: the best locking set I've seen...


"Very fine 1973 Kennedy halves." ($15.50, eBay, from Mario)


"Issued by Tannen's all first editions as follows; Series 1 #1,2,3, Series 2 #1,2,3,4, Series 3 #1,2,3,4,5, Series 4 #1,2,3, Series 5 #1,2,3, Series 6 #1,2,3, Series 7 #1,2,3, Series 8 #1,2,3, Series 9,10,11 and Volume 2 #1. All very fine copies." ($75.00, eBay, from Mario); Me: I already had several of these from when I first hit the "bigger time" and was buying all I could; these are wonderful...


"Dunninger was one of the last of the great magicians, the performers of live vaudeville and theatre whose spectacular effects and impenetrable illusion have mystified and delighted countless millions of people. In more than fifty years as a magician he amassed an unparalleled fund of experience and knowledge, the fruit of which is this extraordinary book. He was an inventor of innumerable devices ranging from the elegantly simple to those involving machinery and preparation of enormous ingenuity and complexity. Many of his illusions are revealed for the first time in these pages, along with those of many famous magicians including the great Houdini. The tricks and illusions described in this encyclopedia are so various in both their kind and their degree of complexity, that everyone from the most expert conjuror to the beginner will find a great number to suit his special interest and ability. Here are sleight of hand tricks, mystic jugglery, telepathy stunts, spirit writing, card tricks, production and disappearance eof every imaginable sort of object, and even scientific effects." Spring Books. Hardbound illustrated volume with the pages a little wavy from being stored in the cold and a little rubbing the cover spine ends else very good condition. Dustjacket has a crease on the inner front flap and a small edgepiece missing along the bottom of the rear panel..." ($6.00, eBay); Me: a good buy but Dunninger was among the most shameless self-promoters I've ever encountered (this professes to be the greatest book on magic ever written -- yep, and Hoffman's "Modern Magic" & J.N. Hilliard's "Greater Magic" are mere footnotes... right~o, Joe)

"Rings 'n Things Zombie - Silver"

"This is a Mint condition 4 inch silver Zombie, still in original box, and with original instructions, and gimmick too!! A Real Collectors item." ($75.00, Kurt Flickner/; Me: one small dent near the hole for man, one giant collectible for me!


"You are bidding on a lot of 3 books written by Eddie Joseph. The Books are: The Last Word on Cups and Balls published by Abbott's Magic Novelty Co., 1942, black cloth, 69 pp., Gretaer Card Tricks published by Abbott's Magic Novelty Co., 1942, red cloth, 101 pp. and Coin & Money Magic published by Abbott's Magic Novelty Co., 1942, black/green cloth, 116 pp." (another steal at $33.87, eBay); Me: I've just begun collecting E.J. and these are very nice -- a good start.

"KT Merrill Knives 7 assorted"

"The color combinations on the knives follow:

Pearlescent Green/Pearlescent White
Pearlescent White/Pearlescent Light Blue
Pearlescent White/Pearlescent Pink
White/Orange body with small White piece also known as "Visible Color Change"

Knives are very good condition." ($66.00, from Kenna on eBay; see "Items I Missed" below for the Merrill Climax Knives which Mendoza nailed me on); Me: Possibly worth the price, but these are the later Pakistani-made models... in Sept., 2002 the real ones sold for $200 or so.

"Copenetro Kline Model - Hank Lee"

"Looking for a superior coin effect with a professional flair, yet without requiring years of manipulation skill? Well, this is it! Three coins vanish, one at a time, from your fingertips. Suddenly the audience hears a loud "Clink" as each coin instantly appears in a small shot glass that has been covered by a larger drinking glass and a silk handkerchief. Magically, the coins have seemingly transported themselves through thin air. By now, the audience is wondering, what's really happening under the silk handkerchief? It must be smoke, mirrors and super secret trickery, right? With confidence you can reply, "Nope, it's just magic". In fact, for the fourth and final coin, you remove the handkerchief and allow the audience to watch the coin as it visibly appears in the glass. They won't believe their eyes.

"Copenetro is absolutely one of the finest coin miracles ever to be created by Bob Kline. This effect has been copied by many pirates, but it has never been equaled. Now, you too can own an original Copenetro, manufactured with permission by Bob Kline. This effect is simple to perform, allowing you to work your audience and concentrate on its presentation. You receive the Copenetro deluxe base, beautifully crafted of rich walnut wood. Also included is the shot glass, drinking glass, coin easel stand and instructions. You supply the half dollar size coins." ($110.00, Kurt Flickner/; Me: Wellllll... this is basically junk, although it's the SQUARE version that Hank put out before the current one (ignore the pic), so it has some historic value; impossible to "set" within five minutes and though it uses a version of Kline's original coin stand...

"Copenetro!- Deluxe Version! The Original by Bob Kline!"

"Effect......A Small glass is placed on a wooden base and a large glass is inverted over the small one. A silk is draped over the glasses (or you can do it uncovered!). Four coins are shown sitting on a wooden stand. One by one the coins vanish from the stand and one by one they appear inside the small glass! You can hear each coin as it arrives in the small glass! Includes the two glasses, the turned wood gimmicked base, a hardwood coin vanishing stand and complete instructions! Use your own Silk and Coins. A Beautiful Set and A Beautiful Effect!" ($114.50 from Franky on eBay); Me: I bought this additional one because it's possibly an original Bob Kline (I owned one in 1976), not the one Hank Lee's passing off as such... turned out not to be either, but it's ok -- apologies to Mendoza for some early comments about one of his Copenetros -- this is all fairly comical because Laura's mother, Susan Reed (back then she was known as "Susie Schmitt" -- daughter of IBM President C.L. Schmitt), a major-leaguer in magic competitions in the late '60s & early '70s, was a close friend of Bob & Billie Kline's and probably could've acquired one of these for me before Bob passed away -- but I try not to ply on my "connections." ;)

"Miniature Pocket Knives - Box of 12"

"Box of 12 miniature knives. Each is 1-1/4" closed. 420 J2 stainless steel blades. Assorted handles. Each has an attachment loop for adding to a key ring, charm bracelet, earring, etc. New in box." ($9.99, eBay; to be used as the climax for the color-changing knives -- keychains removed of course)...

"Adams Hocus-Pocus Magic Set 1962 w/manual, box"

"Adams Hocus-Pocus Magic set from 1962. Includes instruction manual, and looks fairly complete (except for billiard ball trick). Box presentable but has tears. Good selection of tricks - Animal Hunter, Peter Rabbit, Shell game, cards, money tray, coin changer, wand, vanishing quarter, cups & bowls, rice bowls, coin catcher, vanisher, magic coin box, ball and vase, pop bottle trick, and paddle trick." ($9.50, eBay; not nearly as nice as the one I mention below but the innards are in splendid condition)

"Magic Mismade Bill"

"A one dollar bill is borrowed from a spectator. The Magician explains that he is going to tear and restore the bill. The spectator's bill is ripped into four pieces and folded into a small packet. The magician reaches into his pocket to get a little 'magic dust' and sprinkles onto the torn pieces of the bill. When the bill is unfolded it is restored but not in the original condition... The Bill is in fourths! See pic." ($6.00, eBay ~ purchased for Ron Bauer's 'Private Studies' Bar Stunt and in perfect condition).

"Gertner: Steel and Silver Book by Kaufman"

"Brand new, original shrink-wrap sealed, Paul Gertner's 'Steel and Silver' by Richard Kaufman, published by Kaufman and Greenberg. If you know magic, you know Paul Gertner. These are his most admired routines, the routines that have won him every major magic award in the world: First Place at FISM, First Place at the $20,000 Las Vegas Desert Seminar Sleight-of-Hand Challenge, First Place at the SAM Close-Up Competition plus appearances on That's Incredible and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. You'll find 20 coin routines, including Reverse Assembly and That's Ridiculous, 16 card routines including Paul's Opener and Unshuffled, plus Tea Party (a new Chop Cup Routine), the $20 Bill in Hourglass, the Steel Balls and Cups, Triple Giant Die Production, and the Ring on Hourglass. Oversize Hardcover (8 3/4 x 11 1/4 inches, 213 pages.) Foreword by Johnny Carson; Introduction by David Williamson; 400 illustrations by Ton Onosaka." ($33.50, eBay, purchased from the Castle's Al Hayden). I really need to get this signed -- should've brought it to my wedding :)

"Chung Ling Soo-Man of Mystery, Gary Frank"

"Chung Ling Soo - The Man of Mystery - Gary Frank - At last, the authentic story of the remarkable career of William Ellsworth Robinson, the American magician who masqueraded as Chinese conjuror Chung Ling Soo. This numbered, limited edition, 52 page book has been fully approved by Hector Robinson, son of William Robinson. Hardbound, printed on archival paper. There are over 20 photographs, two in full process color. Each book has a bookplate signed by Hector Robinson. Very good condition" ($52.00, eBay, also bought from the Castle's Al Hayden); this is a fairly biased look at Robinson's life -- with good reason -- but being signed and numbered has its benefits for even a tiny book. I recommend the new Todd Karr tome, "The Silence of Chung Ling Soo" for the "real" story.

"Magic 18 inch Magic Silk"

"This nice magic silk says, "It's Magic". It has four items of Magic on each corner. First there is the cups and balls, then there is a hand holding out the four aces, next there is a hand holding four candles and last you have a dove flying out of a magic hat. This is brand new in perfect condtion. It has only been open to take the photo. ($8.39, eBay)


"The Magic of Matt Schulien by Philip Reed Willmarth: First Edition, 1959

"Spiral bound published by Ireland Magic Company in 1959. States First Edition. There are 10 chapters, 169 pages with lots of photos of Schulien at work as well as illustrations to accompany the text. The author describes in detail many of Schulien's greatest close-up miracles.

"This is George Weisensel's personal copy. An 8 x10 inch photo of Schulien is pasted to the rear cover. It has been personally signed and inscribed "To my friend Geo. L. Weisensel, from one horse thief to another. Good luck, Matt Schulien 2-9-47." Also, pasted to the copyright page is a photo of Weisensel with Schulien, Harry Meng and H. P. Jones with a note from Weisensel, "Sunday February 9th, 1947 had dinner at Schulien's Restaurant Halsted at 18th St., Chicago, Ill." Weisensel was so impressed with Schulien that when he bought this first edition in 1959 he affixed these souvenirs of his visit to the book.

"Book is in Very Good condition. Pages are clean and bright."

"Matt Schulien was a close-up legend. Learn from the master of bar and restaurant magic!" ($76.00, eBay; there have been two hardbound reissues but this one's the valuable edition -- per Andy Greget, this was worth $75- 80 without the autograph... so I bought another as you'll see below)

Here are some items I lost or never bid on because I just couldn't afford or justify at the time but still covet:

"*Mikame Imp Bottle from Don Alan Estate*"

"I bought this on eBay a couple years ago when Don Alan's family was selling his magic. It came with a Don Alan sticker (shown in photo). It is from his personal collection. In mint, never used condition with original box.*" (TommyTarantula sniped me on this one for $62 -- mine was the only bid for a week)

"*Beautiful Mikame Ball & Silk Vase*"

"This beautiful Mikame vase works just like the magic classic effect, except there's a kicker when the ball turns into a red silk. In mint as new condition." (Now THIS one really pissed me off -- yep, I'm a whiner -- because not only were John Mendoza and I the only bidders for a week, but John kindly backed off so that I could purchase this for Tim Moore for being my Best Man; so at the last minute, in snipes to make his most expensive eBay buy -- at $113.50; well, at least I made Dale a lot of money by bidding this stuff up)...

"Rings 'N' Things Change Bag - Very Rare"

"A small run of these was made by Tim Star for Rings 'n' Things during his brief time with them as a builder. Typical of Tim's work, it is First Class all the way. The rim is bronze and the bag dark blue velvet with red lining and tassel. The handle is beautifully turned wood and the mechanism operates from the midway point of the handle, rather than its entire length as is commonly found in most bags like the P&L. This enables you to do the switch without ever having to actually touch the bag proper itself. The bag is in pristine mint condition." ($275, eBay, from John Mendoza, purchased by Dale Houck)

"Bob Kohler's 'Ultimate 3 Fly'"

Note from me: This effect uses Steve Dusheck's "half shell" as the main gaff. As usual, Steve didn't patent it and didn't receive credit from Kohler (at the time). One more case of the amazing Dusheck getting screwed.

Back to the eBay description:

"Ultimate 3 Fly aka Threefly By Bob Kohler. Effect: Three Silver Morgan Dollars are displayed and given out to the spectators for inspection. After they are returned, a most amazing routine where the coins visually teleport themselves from one hand to the other occurs. The hands are far apart from each other, and yet, slowly and impossibly, one by one, the coins disappear from one hand and appear in the other. One sequence in the routine has a breathtakingly beautiful vanish of the coin. It just seems to disappear. A most stunning and magical routine. Multiple "sells" make this routine's impact even more astounding: the hands are kept far apart from each other, the coins are freely handled and displayed, the coins can be flipped in the air, the coins clink loudly and genuinely... Made with beautiful 1921 Morgan Silver Dollars. The gaff is made impeccably by famed machinist Todd Lassen, the Antonio Stradivari of modern coin magic. Limited to 200 sets.Even when he was selling them, Mr. Kohler had a six-month wait list. Includes coins, coin container, and video (NTSC Format). Mike Close reviewed this effect in September's Magic magazine, This is the last paragraph of that review: "I can give "Ultimate 3 Fly" no higher endorsement than to say that I absolutely hate coin tricks, but this is one that I am immediately adding to my repertoire. It's that good." A strong quote from one of Magics best. Imagine not just DISPLAYING three genuine Morgan silver dollars to the spectators, but actually HANDING THEM OUT FOR EXAMINATION. This can be done before the effect, afterwards, or both. The entire routine is a mind boggler, but I think the second phase fooled me the worst. This is where the second coin travels just as the hands are tilted down and forward so we can see the backs of the coins. During this simple action, the second coin just visibly dissolves into nothingness only to reappear simultaneously in the other hand -- YIKES! There are three big "sells" which make this a very strong routine. First of all, at several key points in the performance, it's obviously impossible to hide an extra coin because of the way they are handled and held for display. Secondly, every coin is tossed up in the air to emphasize their singularity and honesty. And finally, each coin is unmistakably solid. They clink against one another with a heavy solid noise, thereby canceling out the possibility of gaffed coins. All of these features combine to produce a perfect and incredibly convincing illusion. The video is professionally shot and produced. The camera work is excellent and the audio loud and clear. He opens the tape with a performance followed by a detailed explanation of the method and the routine. It's all carefully arranged so each phase is treated separately and thoroughly covered with excellent close-ups, over the shoulder shots, and replays of corresponding performance footage. On top of that, Bob has good teaching skills so learning the routine was easy. Everything about this product is beautifully produced. And I mean EVERYTHING. Item is in Immaculate "like new" condition. My reserve price is the same as the original list price (if you were lucky enough to be able to get one when originally sold)." (Note ftom ME: this was the third of these sold on eBay in the past four months -- as of 1/23/01 -- and went for an all-time high -- at that time -- of $410 to "Gommie")

"Merrill's Miniature Climax Knives"

"This is a set of 19 miniature knives which are 3/4" in length and all are white in color. A hard to find item for the close up worker." ($51, eBay, from Kenna, bought by Mendoza at a price inflated by yours truly because I was also bidding on a 7-knife set ot Merrills at the same time -- which I won -- and see the above mini-knives I got for $9.99)...


"Meticulous craftsmanship of Dai Vernon's cone measuring 9 inches in height by 2 3/4 in diameter. Percision crafted in leather seamless with specially made wood turned insert to maintain shape. Comes in a custom crafted plexi case with brass plate engraved "The Cone And Ball", please note no balls supplied. This came from the Bill Dodson collection Kentucky. In mint condition." ($230.50, eBay, from Mario, purchased by Phil Varricchio.)

"Massey's Strange Cabinet of Deodar"

"Someone's Going to Get a Deal!"

"I've had these on before and I think everyone knows how great I think this trick is. It is one of Massey's finest creations. It is a baffling and convincing illusion, even if you know how it works. A small cabinet is shown and a glass removed from inside. The glass clearly fills the interior of the cabinet. The glass is filled with liquid, returned to the cabinet and the doors closed. Now, seven spikes are thrust through the cabinet virtually impaling the glass from every conceivable angle. The cabinet is shown all around. The illusion is unbelievable as there truly appears to be no space in the cabinet for one spike to avoid the glass, much less seven.

"The spikes are then removed and the cabinet opened and the glass of liquid found to be intact. A most impressive way to do this is to open the front door and lower a spike into the hole in the very top of the cabinet, clearly demonstrating that the spike hits right in the center of the glass and, of course, won't go through. Remove the spike, close the front door, and re-insert the spike and, amazingly, it goes right through and out the hole in the bottom floor of the cabinet!

"Now, here's why someone's going to get a deal on this. The condition of this cabinet is gorgeous despite Massey's typically crude workmanship. It should have seven spikes. It only has one. The spikes are nothing more than 9" long 3/8" dowel rods which have been sharpened on one end, much like one would sharpen a pencil. These are easily replaceable for less than two dollars, so that's negligible.

"However, if you know how this works you know that underneath the cabinet is a small metal lever which is simply pulled to make the entire effect happen. It slides in a slot. This lever has broken off. You can see where it was soldered and it could be either re-soldered or epoxied back in place. Once that's done, you have a perfectly mint condition Cabinet of Deodar with the correct glass. But, I don't want to diminish this. The lever or handle must be soldered or glued through the slot and it would be very tricky to do this. Of course, if you are really mechanically inclined, you could disassemble the cabinet, solder the lever, slide the gimmick back in place and then reassemble the cabinet. I have trouble tying my own shoes which is why I didn't and won't attempt this."

"So, this has a very low opening bid and no reserve. It is also being sold As Is with no return, so be sure you can repair it if that's what you intend to do. Good luck to everyone. The last one I sold here went for $530.00 and, frankly, if the lever is back on this one, it will be in nicer condition than that one. No instructions, but if you get the lever back in position, you won't need them. You'll pull the lever, see what it does and then never believe that such a simple movement can make this illusion possible, but it does." ($128.29 on eBay from Mendoza)

"Himber Topper (Himber's 'Best') - Mint"

"This is a beautiful stainless steel box for the vanishment of a full deck of cards. The lid is beautifully covered in maroon leather with gold tooling on the borders. The bottom of the box, as well as the inside, is also covered with contrasting black leather with gold tooled borders. It is a striking image against the mirror- finish stainless steel sides of the box.

"The basic routine is that a card is selected, returned and the deck placed into the case. You wave your hands and state that the chosen card will rise to the top of the deck. Instead, when the spectator opens the case, he finds that the entire deck has vanished, with the exception of a single card....the chosen one.

"Includes instructions for Topper and Himber's Best, which is more commonly known today as the 'Polish Razor Trick,' popularized by Scott York. The politically incorrect title is Scotty's, not mine, but was acceptable in the 70's when the country still had a sense of humor and wasn't so thin skinned. Being Mexican myself, I, frankly, miss the Frito Bandito. Lighten up, America.

"The effect is well known. A card is chosen and returned and the deck placed into the case, along with a razor blade. The case is shaken and when opened, a zillion pieces of card fall onto the table, along with a single fully intact card....the chosen one.

"Please note, this is NOT the frame type boxes as used today to make a 'deck' vanish. A real, full deck of cards is placed into the box, not a shell. Includes carrying bag, instructions for both Topper and Himber's Best and razors for the latter. This beautiful box is in pristine mint condition." (Sold for $240 or so to Fatcat by Mendoza)

And Finally, The REAL Bob Kline "Copenetro"...

The following pix are of the genuine Kline, verified by Kline expert John Mendoza. Accept no less, despite what eBay sellers say. This one sold for $147.50 on 7/26/03.

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