Friday, September 14, 2007

In my "In Box"

Dear Tom:

Thank you for writing me yesterday via ebay regarding the Phoenix cups your company makes and sells. I apologize for not connecting you with the Phoenix product prior to your writing. Personally, I am in the process of rediscovering magic after many, many years. In my youth, I traveled on weekends and assisted a professional magician in California who, over the years, gave me a number of items (including a set of cups and balls). Last month, our home in Chicago flooded and as a result I ended up taking out these old magic effects to clean up and in some unfortunate instances discard. My son was helping out, saw the old items, and we’ve been exploring a new hobby together.

In any event, I have quickly discovered how poorly much if not most of the items currently for sale on the internet and brick and mortar magic shops. There are exceptions, but rare (e.g., Johnson products, some collectors workshop items, James Riser, etc.) I would I would like to purchase is a set of cups and balls. The set I have I know are very old. The balls are missing, but I remember them being fluffy (rather than knitted), blue in color and large (1” in diameter). The cups themselves are made of metal, grey in color, and have the appearance of old, metal drinking tumblers (5 or more inches high and at least 3.75 inches across). I’ve not seen them or anything similar on any website.

I’ve attached a picture. I know you are an avid collector. Have you ever seen something similar? Are these collectible? Or should I toss them and start over? On that note, I’m seriously considering purchasing the cups you sell. Money is not so much the issue. I could purchase a set made by Riser (if he’d sell them to me). Ha! Or I could afford to purchase a set of Johnson cups or the ones made by you. Most websites advise not laying out 200 or 300 prior to really honing one’s skills with a set of beginner cups. I know however that one’s routine can be thrown off by changing cups that feel and weigh different.

I would appreciate your expert opinion greatly.

Yours truly,

Scott D. Miller, Ph.D.


My response:

Dr. Miller,

Call me at 323.683.5844 to discuss your potential purchase. In a nut shell, it is my opinion that the cups you have, were not manufactured for the purpose of the trick. My guess is that these are cups to drink from (made circa 1950's).

You couldn't go wrong with any of the brands you mentioned (Johnson, Riser, Phoenix) All good cups. I think a brief conversation could clarify any specific questions you may have about the differences of those 3 brands. Please feel free to use me as a resource regardless of which set you get.

Bottom line. . . . I love talking about the cups and balls.

Got to run, call me.


Tom Frank

1 comment:

Timmy Jimmy said...

I love talking about the cups and balls too, if you like, you can give the man my email and number as well...
Your cups (Phoenix) rock. I am not using mine at present as you knkow because I am using the large load of oranges. But I love my cups. The Johnson cups are excellent but in my humble opinion, they are more for a small gathering of people, more of a sit down type of cups and balls routine, also, I dinged mine up using the Mercury wand that Michael Ammar sells. It has metal tips and well, being new to magic, I dinged them up. I have no qualms about using and abusing my Gazzo cups or your Phoenix cups! In fact, the beating up of the cups adds character and flavor to them.
My 2 cents.