Sometimes a prop just looks cool and I want to figure out a way to use it. One of those props is the brass plates for the trick Collectors Workshop’s Jaks or Better. The prop consists of two brass plates that are screwed together and dangle from a chain.
Personally I’m not a fan of the trick that the brass plates come with. The Jaks or Better effect is basically a drawing duplication. Someone picks a card and puts it between the two plates. You then draw the picture that they put in between the two brass plates. The effect is fine, I’m not a fan of the method.
The original props looked like this:
About a year ago I bought a set and unfortunately they had changed the brass plates to a powder coated set of red plates. The red plates lack the character that the brass plates have. According to the Viking Magic (who owns Collector’s Workshop) website they switched to the powder coated plates because the brass tarnished.
Personally I think that the tarnished brass is what makes it look cool and interesting.
I’ve had the red set of plates kicking around on my desk for a while and I hadn’t come up with something to do with it. Then as I was heading out to a week or so ago to do a roving magic gig, I had an idea. What if a signed card came out from between the plates?
The method would simply be a double backed card. All I had was a red/blue double backed card, but I grabbed it anyway and put it between the plates.
After arriving early to the gig, I was playing around with the plates in my dressing room and realized I really didn’t need the chain, so I took that off. I also noticed the ring that served as the hinge was too big for what I wanted and didn’t hold the plates tight enough. Luckily I had a small key ring that I could put on it.
Here’s the altered plates:
It really doesn’t look like much difference, but the small ring for the hinge makes a huge difference!
I use blue decks, so the card coming out of the plates out have to be red.
The routine was simple. During my close up set I took the plates out and set them on the table. Then later during my ambitious card routine, after the card has some out of my wallet, I say, “You can keep the card or trade it for what’s in between the metal plates“. 100% of people took the metal plates. What’s fun, is someone every time also said they bet it was the card.
When the plates were unscrewed and a red card came out, it was a great moment to release tension as it clearly wasn’t there card. Then the card is turned over and it is the signed card, and the reveal had a huge impact.
initially my plan was to simply put the card back in between the plates and move on. On the second group I tried it on I handed them the card face up, and was surprised I got a bonus trick when they turned the card over and noticed it now had a blue back!
I thought the color changing back would signal that something fishy was going on, but to my surprise it was interpreted as a trick and it had a great impact!
I don’t know if I’m going to keep using the red powder coated plates, or try to find a brass set, but I do know I’m going to keep doing this bit!