How to Repair a Flipper Coin

Coin Magic Trick - Flipper Coin

Johnson Flipper Coin

Magic meetings are filled with grabby hands eager to play with other magician’s props.  For this reason, I’ve always been hesitant to hand out any gimmicked coins to the performer who promises to handle the coin magic trick gimmick carefully.  A few years ago at the Columbus Magi-Fest convention, Troy Hooser had brought in a new flipper coin only to hand it out to a fellow magic fan who broke the gimmick.

…and keep in mind this wasn’t a $35 flipper coin.

I had a similar experience this week when I ignored my own advice and handed out my flipper coin only to have it fall apart in a fellow magician’s hands.  Now to be fair, it wasn’t his fault.  The tape simply wore out…and thankfully the band did not.

The following day I proceeded to research how to fix a flipper coin given 2 common flipper coin magic trick problems.

Flipper Coin Problem #1:  Removing the Insert

To remove the insert, you’re going to need a small screwdriver like a jewler’s screwdriver or a thin nail file to pry the insert of the shell.  Fortunately my gimmick was secured with double sided tape so prying off the insert wasn’t difficult.

If have a coin with a glued insert, you’ll need a solvent to weaken the glue such as nail polish remover.

(Hence my preference for double-sided tape)

With the insert set free, you can now replace the band (if necessary)

Flipper Coin Problem #2: Replacing the Band

To replace the band, do the following:

  1. Inspect the insert and remove any remaining fragments of the band
  2. Clean the groove as best you can by running a pin or a thin screwdriver to clean out any bits of the old band
  3. Add the rubber band to the larger piece of the flipper coin
  4. Add the small piece of the flipper coin into band resulting in a completed coin
  5. Secure the insert back into the shell with a small amount of double sided tape.

Flipper Coin Problem #3: Securing the Insert

Some folks swear by glue as a logical bind and other recommend double stick tape and even Blu-Tak.

I haven’t tried Blu-Tak yet but I found the double stick tape was a practical solution.  If you are going to perform gimmick coin magic, then you need to be ready for gimmicks to break.  If you are table-hopping or away from your secret magic library, then you want a quick and reliable solution.

I don’t want to be mixing a 2-part solvent to fix a coin while away and the double stick tape solution seems to do the trick.  Although the Blu-Tak option is intriguing.

To secure the insert:

  1. Take a small piece of double stick tape off the role.
  2. Instead of picking up the tape with my fingers, I use tweerzer and the screwdriver to orient the tape
  3. Once the tape has been affixed to the inset, press the insert into the shell
  4. Get back to creating some great coin magic with the good ‘ol flipper coin!

Blu-Tak Update – September 7th, 2010

I was rummaging through my old coin trick collection and found a few other Sasco flipper coins and cigarette through coin gimmicks.  Both were broken and I followed the same steps above and tried Blu-Tak on one of the coins.  I don’t recommend it as the “stick” wasn’t sufficient.  The two halves stuck together but I felt like I had to apply pressure to the coin to keep everything in place.

When I switched to double stick tape, it worked like a charm!

I also played with the stretch of the band to get the flipper coin to open up easier.

In my next post, I’ll be sure to provide a comparison of some of the commonly available flippers.  My Johnston flipper is well machined and worked great.  The Sasco coins didn’t work so well.

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6 Responses to “How to Repair a Flipper Coin”

  1. Andy
    Wax also works fine to hold a flipper coin together.
    Good job I’m now famous, I’m all over the place.

  2. How do I fix a Johnson Cigarette thru Quarter ? ( broken spring )

  3. Can anybody tell me how to put the band on cig thru £1 coin just got the coin today but no band was on it so got to put it on myself.

  4. I just struck gold, recently, at a magic estate sale, and this is the answer I was looking for after picking up an exquisite coin set that includes a flipper and no bands or instructions (killer deal, I got, for $18, nonetheless). Thank you for sharing this, Andy!

  5. Thanks! I had to change the band on my very first flipper today. It proved to be not so scary thanks to this guide.
    I must have put a slacker band on too. Now, ‘two coins’ can be placed on the table without it forcibly closing, and yet this doesn’t stop it closing when I want it to. I think I prefer this setup.