PALMING TOKENS, COMMEMORATIVES, MEDALLIONS, GIMMICKS, & COIN TRICKS
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Magic tokens have been a part of magic for well over 150 years both as commemoratives of magicians and/or events or as the props actually used by magicians. Most fall into the second category with all manner and size of coin being used for manipulations or as a part of a coin trick. The first of the recognized palming coins were from New York and the Martinka brothers. These coins were sold through their shop and appeared to have far more varieties than any other magic dealer who provided these valuable accessories. The coins may have been minted with copper, aluminum, bronze, or plated over a base metal with nickel, gold, silver, etc. There were various dies used to stamp the coins, with the smallest coin being about half the size of a dime (a Martinka coin). There are varying rarities with some counting at less than 10 and others being prolific. The major items to note when looking at or purchasing tokens are the metal, size, obverse and reverse (front and back of the coin. Some coins were the same on both sides others were different), and the strike. The strike is determined by whether or not the image on both sides of the coin appears upright, or if one is upside down in relation to the other. US currency is called a coin strike and the image one one side is upside down in relation to the other side. The other primary category is the medal strike in which both images are upright as would be the case on a medallion. Pictured below are a fraction of the varieties of tokens that have been available to magicians over the past 150 years. The MT references in the descriptions refer to a magic token guide which was printed in 1978 by William Kuethe as a supplement to the TAMS Journal of tokens. MT as well as the number which follows is the spot the coin can be found in the guide and is the present bible for the magic token collectors although there are far more available than what are noted in the guide.