Review by Andy Martin for The Omega Exchange (Brazilian Rosewood) by Phantom Magic, Joe Litvinchuk

Review by Andy Martin for The Omega Exchange (Brazilian Rosewood) by Phantom Magic, Joe Litvinchuk
Review by Andy Martin for The Omega Exchange (Brazilian Rosewood) by Phantom Magic, Joe Litvinchuk
5 out of 5

These boxes are meticulously hand made in very limited numbers by Creator Joe Litvinchuk, the custom home builder from Pleasanton, California, using a rare Brazilian Rosewood. Joe became interested in magic at the age of nine, and after over 35 years in the construction industry decided to begin Phantom Magic c. 2010 where he created a fine line of high-end magic for the discerning Magic collector and Professional magician.

Each box is polished to bring out the rich, natural beauty of the Rosewood. They are really stunning to look and at about half the size of the Mystery Box. They are much more finely made with a very different mechanism to the Mystery Box which allows for a very convincing almost visual exchange.  From an engineering perspective these are streets ahead, but I’m not yet convinced I prefer the effect, need to spend time with this one to see.  Either way a beautiful box.

This version was the rarer and more expensive of the two versions released – the other one was made from Padauk which you can see in the advert on this page.  The box is incredibly smooth and flawless.

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Review by Andy Martin for Ed Massey's Knife Thru Arm by Limited Edition Magic

Review by Andy Martin for Ed Massey's Knife Thru Arm by Limited Edition Magic
Review by Andy Martin for Ed Massey's Knife Thru Arm by Limited Edition Magic
5 out of 5

For years my favorite chopper effect has easily been the See-Thru Guillotine by Wellington Enterprises. It checks all the boxes and simply looks amazing.  But it is large and expensive, and even though it is difficult to imagine how it could work it is still a large magic prop and all sorts of things could be going on. 

What I love about this truly amazing chopper from The Limited Edition Magic team of Paul Lembo and Joe Long is how real everything looks.  You show a normal knife which can be examined if desired and cut things with it.  Then you place the victim’s wrist (or head if you are a little guy like Pug!) into the unit and clearly show the blade resting above the wrist – in fact the spectator can really feel it right next to the skin.  And then you proceed to slice the knife through their wrist slowly and deliberately.  Then hand the knife over again for examination if desired. It looks amazing and the illusion is perfect!

It simply looks like real magic and if you were actually going to cut someones wrist off I think you would do it the same way.  Plus you have to love the video where Paul Lembo already has his finger in a band-aid from an early test I’m sure 🙂

It may not be as physically impressive as the Wellington Chopper, but boy does it look real – perfect for Halloween and all the nights after.  It is a good compact size and is very quick to set-up.  In fact you can turn up at the venue and just do it.  To do it as convincingly as Paul Lembo will take some practice, but just timing  and routine nothing is difficult and to be honest when you are dealing with sharp knives you should be prepared to take some time to make the whole thing smooth, otherwise you’ll end up with a nicked finger like Paul in the video!

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Review by Andy Martin for Bendix Bombshell (Early Run) by Dave Bendix, R.A.R. Magic

Review by Andy Martin for Bendix Bombshell (Early Run) by Dave Bendix, R.A.R. Magic
Review by Andy Martin for Bendix Bombshell (Early Run) by Dave Bendix, R.A.R. Magic
5 out of 5

“The Bendix Bombshell is the BEST card in wallet ever and will fool everyone. Even magicians won’t see it coming” – John Mendoza

I don’t always agree with John Mendoza, but when it comes to the Best Card in Wallet, which is an incredibly crowded field, I have to admit I am right on board with John’s sentiment.  He acquired the wallet he still uses today directly from Roy Roth in April 1982 (over 37 years ago) and  you can see John with Roy in one of the photos (kindly supplied by John for this description).  Since we sadly lost Dave Bendix in 2013 I’m not sure there are many people left alive today who have performed the Bendix for as long or as many times as John, so when it comes to the Bendix  Bombshell John knows what he is talking about.

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Review by Andy Martin for The Pearl Maidens (Die Perlen-Taucherinnen) by Tony Lackner, Eckhard Boettcher

Review by Andy Martin for The Pearl Maidens (Die Perlen-Taucherinnen) by Tony Lackner, Eckhard Boettcher
Review by Andy Martin for The Pearl Maidens (Die Perlen-Taucherinnen) by Tony Lackner, Eckhard Boettcher
5 out of 5

What an adorable version of the classic Thieves and Sheep or Cops and Robbers theme by the great German craftsman Tony Lackner, routined perfectly by Eckhard Boettcher.  This is a good time to remember the producers of magic – so often we think of the craftsmen who make these wonderful effects, but often there are other people involved that create the routine, patter, and bring the item to market.  With the possible exception of Ken Brooke and his right hand man Roy Johnson,  I don’t think there has been anyone finer than Eckhard Boettcher in this regard.  So many of the effects he works on start of as good and become real miracles after he has finished. 

When I look at some modern companies like Magic Wagon – they create amazing props, but many of the items they produce don’t reach their full potential because Magic Wagon don’t have a full-time Eckhard Boettcher.  They have some part-time producers like Simon Corneille and Tony Curtis, but they often miss the mark on a perfect item simply  due to the routine. Even Thomas Pohle, who had great success with Eckhard in the 1980’s and 1990’s, doesn’t always find his stride without him.  Though I would say that Joe Long, who is no slouch in this regard, does a great job working with Thomas.  They make a good team for sure.

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Review by Andy Martin for Impossible Streamlined by Thomas Pohle

Review by Andy Martin for Impossible Streamlined by Thomas Pohle
Review by Andy Martin for Impossible Streamlined by Thomas Pohle
5 out of 5

This is the streamlined version of Thomas Pohle’s Impossible – to my mind the streamlined version is actually much better and more magical than the Deluxe version, which I think is six boxes too many 🙂

With the routine below, based on Joe Long’s alternate handling, you have a really clean routine where the spectator determines where each of five colors are and you end with a successful prediction of the first color they freely choose too. 

This is easy and quick to do and leaves a satisfying and colorful display  when you finish.   Reset is quick too, nothing is added or taken away, and there are no tricky moves.

I love this version!

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Review by Andy Martin for Pocket Sawing in Half (Kartenetui) by Wolfgang Grosskopf

Review by Andy Martin for Pocket Sawing in Half (Kartenetui) by Wolfgang Grosskopf
Review by Andy Martin for Pocket Sawing in Half (Kartenetui) by Wolfgang Grosskopf
4 out of 5

A rare close-up effect from the inventive German craftsman Wolfgang Grosskopf. This is Wolfgang’s version of a Pocket Sawing in Half.

The name of this prop in German is actually Kartenetui:  which Google translates to Card Case.  And the German instructions refer to three distinct effects. Unfortunately, their are only English instructions for the final sawing effect, and although there are German instructions I am not sure if they are complete or not.  I don’t speak German and the Google translation was not that useful. 

As a collectible this is certainly rare, but you will need to spend some time with the props and a good translator to figure out all the details.  As it stands you can perform the final sawing effect but the other two are a little more elusive and should be considered bonus items if you can figure them out.  At the very least a deck of bridge sized cards would be needed.

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Review by Andy Martin for Super De Luxe Die Penetration by Harries

Review by Andy Martin for Super De Luxe Die Penetration by Harries
Review by Andy Martin for Super De Luxe Die Penetration by Harries
5 out of 5

I’m not sure who created the first Visible Die or Block Penetration and there have been many versions and methods over the years. My money would be on Floyd Thayer’s Greatest Solid Through Solid c. 1939, Carl G. Thiene’s Visible Block Penetration Penetor c. 1938, or maybe Selbit or Okito’s Matter through Matter.

I’m not sure who created the first Visible Die or Block Penetration and there have been many versions and methods over the years. My money would be on Floyd Thayer’s Greatest Solid Through Solid c. 1939, Carl G. Thiene’s Visible Block Penetration Penetor c. 1938, or maybe Selbit or Okito’s Matter through Matter.

The version featured here is by Harries and they have a clever feature that was also reused in later years by Thomas Pohle with his China Block Suprise. Instead of the rectangular insert being blank it is covered with the same dots as the die itself, so the first phase of the penetration looks 100% genuine as you can see the top of the die has penetrated. The tolerances are not as tight on this version as they are with Thomas’ version but the effect is still enhanced and very convincing. If you’re looking for a clever parlor effect to wow them, you’ll find it with this bad boy.

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Review by Andy Martin for Four Wrongs Make A Right by Gimpy's Magic, Jack Hughes

Review by Andy Martin for Four Wrongs Make A Right by Gimpy's Magic, Jack Hughes
Review by Andy Martin for Four Wrongs Make A Right by Gimpy's Magic, Jack Hughes
5 out of 5

This effect was created by Jack Hughes c. 1945 and is featured in his wonderful book World of Magic Vol. 2. Stevens Magic and Gimpy has recreated a perfect version with the permission of Derek Lever (the current owner of the Jack Hughes line).

The trick is great. Normally I would love to feature the video that Shawn Reida has done and is on the Stevens Magic website. Unfortunately, his performance misses the point of the trick and I believe ruins the overall effect. The big difference in the actual effect (and even the description on the Stevens website) is the four cards are chosen, they are all wrong, so the For Sale sign goes up. Then the magician asks what the actual card was, and now when the sign is lifted (without being turned around) the prediction has changed to one jumbo card. Having saved the day the magician now turns around the sign and hangs the new one: Offer Withdrawn. Which is more magical and funnier.

Shawn is a great and experienced performer so I’m sure this was just an omission under time pressure, but I wanted to mention it here. It is a really good effect otherwise 🙂

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Review by Andy Martin for Takagi Cup (Solid Cup) by John Dahms

Review by Andy Martin for Takagi Cup (Solid Cup) by John Dahms
Review by Andy Martin for Takagi Cup (Solid Cup) by John Dahms
5 out of 5

A truly breathtaking Takagi or Solid Cup by the incredibly talented craftsman John Dahms. This is a real beauty whether you perform it or not you will love the colors, the solid feel, and the finish.

The original Shigeo Takagi’s routine is still available in Richard Kaufman’s wonderful book: The Amazing Miracles of Shigeo Takagi.

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