• Alex Hui

TRICK REVIEW - Carpenter Coin by Jack Carpenter



Here is my in-depth review of Carpenter Coin by Jack Carpenter.


REVIEW PHILOSOPHY


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YOUTUBE REVIEW


If you want to watch the review, here is the YouTube version.



EFFECT


Carpenter Coin is basically a Copper/Silver/Brass set. In this effect, the performer starts with 3 different coins (a Mexican Centavo, an imitation Chinese coin and a half dollar). He mades the coins jump from pockets to hand, and transpose with another. As a finale, all the coins vanish and re-appear in the performer’s pocket, 


WHAT YOU GET?


You will receive a set of Copper/Silver/Brass. The coins are a Mexican Centavo, an imitation Chinese coin and a half dollar gimmick, plus what 2 other standard gimmicks in CSB set. 


A link to the password protected online instruction is also provided. 



QUALITY OF THE PRODUCT

As coin set comes with some normal coins and gimmicked coins. I will try to discuss each so that you will have a comprehensive idea, 

The Mexican Centavo is a real coin which was circulated. Due to the fact that it may be used a lot, it shows ages (even partially rusted) and the surface is not perfect. Besides, my coin is rusted and I have to clean it with metal polisher before I could use it. As far as I heard, there are several similar cases. Some Mexican Centavo in the set are totally rusted and cannot be restored. Therefore, it’s better to check the coins with the dealers before you purchase it. 

Besides, due to the different conditions of the Mexican Centavo, the patina and surface may not match nicely with the gimmick. This may not be a huge issue because the normal coin and the gimmick are not compared side by side in the routine. But for perfectionists, these coins are not perfect in terms of color/surface consistency. 


(LEFT) Gimmick; (RIGHT) Real Centavo

As for the gimmicks, the quality is nice and well built. The thickness is obvious from side when the coins are all stacked together, but it’s not a critical issue with proper angle management. However, the coins somehow ’talk’ because the gimmicks do not perfectly fit. The set also comes with one gimmick which is not included in standard CSB. It can be used in other effects. A great value for money. 

As for the imitation Chinese coin, I will discuss it in details in coming section. 


Overall, Carpenter Coin is an ok-ish Copper/Silver/Brass set. There are not bad for sure, but I am not super excited about the quality either. The unknown condition of the Mexican Centavo is the biggest concern. And the issue about the Chinese coin I am going to discuss is also a huge disappointment which make my impression on this coin set poor.


ISSUE OF THE CHINESE COIN

Let’s talk about the imitation Chinese coin. Honestly, this is one of the worst designs I could ever imagine. A good imitation coin should be something look authentic. But in this case, it looks 100% a toy coin. 


Why I said that? 

The reason is simple: the publisher has added some characters that should never be on serious magic set. 


Just ask yourself, will you use a coin printed with ‘magic coin’ in English in your performance (esp. paid performance)? I bet most of us will refrain from using such coin. 

The publisher has done something ridiculous with this imitation Chinese coin. The characters on the coin read ‘Coin Vanish’, or ‘Vanish a Coin’. I know most western audience do not read Chinese, but many Asian do. We never know for who we perform for in actual performance. With many Asian people in Western countries now, it’s highly probable that you will perform for Asian who can read the characters on the coins. The coin look totally fake and unauthentic to people who can read Chinese. 


(LEFT) Carpenter Coin set; (RIGHT) Chinese coin from other magic set

To design a good magic prop with the theme of different cultures, it’s important to understand some cultural background. Asian coins usually are printed with emperor’s name or year of the empires. Adding a few random Chinese characters on a coin do not automatically translate it into a cool imitation Chinese coin. It may look cool to unknown audience, but it just make the performer look unprofessional in front of knowing audience. I will never perform with this Chinese coin. The quality of this Chinese coin is totally fine, but the design 100% ruined it. There are a lot of much better options on the market.

QUALITY OF THE TUTORIAL


The explanation comes as online tutorial on Vanishing Inc. The video can be downloaded on your own device. 


The effect is explained in a 23 minutes and 52 seconds long video. The explanation is presented by Jack Carpenter. There are mainly 2 kinds of camera shot throughout the tutorial: chest up and close up. The explanation is generally good enough, but few subtleties are given.



Length (in minutes) of the main parts (I literally counted): 

  • Studio Performance - 3:43

  • Introduction - 2:39

  • What You Get - 2:23

  • Explanation - 11:30

  • Pocket Management - 3:06

  • Conclusion - 0:31


In Introduction, Jack Carpenter talks about the history of this CSB set. This part is not particularly helpful except he mentioned that the set comes with a real Mexican Centavo. He has emphasized that he will buy 2 sets of this coins twice in this section. Which sounds like much like a promotional message to me.

The explanation is divided into 3 parts: Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3. 


Phase 1 - This is the coin from pocket to hand phase. A coin is taken away to the pocket, and it magically jumps back to the hand. It may be the most technical demanding phase of the whole routine. The difficult part is not about standard coin sleight, but the smooth manipulation of the gimmicks. The explanation is clear except there is little details on how to manipulate the gimmicks. 

Phase 2 - This is the transposition phase. This phase is almost automatic because there is not sleight involved (except some handling of the gimmicks). I love this phase because it’s super clean and smooth. Even magicians who have little experience in coin magic should be able to execute this phase beautifully.

Phase 3 - This is the vanish phase of 3 coins. There is only 1 effect in this phase and it allows the performer end clean. This phase cleverly employs the nature of gimmick. I think it’s well done.


In Pocket Management section, Jack talks about how to carry the coins to facilitate performance. It’s a good reference but very standard. There is not much information for coin magicians who know how to carry coins.

To conclude, the routine is nice and very solid. The teaching is clear too. However, due to the reflection, sometimes it’s hard to distinguish the color of the silver and copper coins. I am generally satisfied with the tutorial, but think it’s not too detailed. It’s not a big issue, but can be improved. 


KEY POINTS OF THE PRODUCT

  • The quality of the gaffs is good.

  • Patina/surface quality of the Mexican coin and the gimmick may vary.

  • The design of the Chinese coin is not professional.

  • There is only 1 routine.

  • The routine is easy enough for beginners, and it’s solidly constructed.

  • The price is reasonable. 


DIFFICULTY

The effect is easy enough for beginners. But there are few ‘moves’ which may not be smooth due to the condition of the gimmick.  


EXAMINABLE?

The coins cannot be examined at the start of routine. But you can end clean.

PROS ABOUT THE PRODUCT


  • Nice and solid routine. 

  • The gaffs are nicely manufactured.

  • Contain extra gimmick which is not included in standard CSB.   

  • Reasonable price.


CONS ABOUT THE PRODUCT


  • There are issues with the Mexican Centavo and the Chinese coin.

  • The tutorial is not a little bit rushed. And the camera angle is not too perfect.


FINAL VERDICT


Carpenter Coin by Jack Carpenter is a not-bad CSB coin set. It comes with a nice routine which is good for magicians who started toying with CSB set. 


However, there are many issues of the coins which I mentioned above. They may not be critical issues to some performers, but they can be crucial in some cases. It really depends on perspective (about the Chinese coin) and luck (about the condition of the Mexican coin).


Who should get this coin set? 

If you do not own any CSB set, Carpenter Coin may be a good purchase. But it offers few additional value to experienced performers who own similar sets and routines. If you are very serious about getting only one top-notch CSB set, I think there are many better options on the market. Of course, price will be higher then. 

The coin and the routine justify the price tag at $75. But since it only comes with 1 routine, it may not be a bargain for buyers who has limited resources on CSB routines. The explanation is only 24 mins, thus I hope the publisher could have spent more efforts to include more routines. For people who want to dive into coin magic, I think there are much better options which you can invest in first before you bet your money in this set. 

Honestly, I have a complicated feeling about this product. It’s surely not a bad product, but I am not thrilled either. To decide whether you should get it or not, it largely depends on what you want to get from the coin set.   

  • Tutorial Quality: 7/10

  • Effectiveness of Tricks: 9/10

  • Practical: 8/10

  • Creativity: 7/10

  • Cost Performance: 8/10

  • Final Score: 7.5/10


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