Magic makers often make new versions of old tricks. Large-scale feats such as David Copperfield’s ‘The Illusion of Theft’ and ‘Sawing a Woman in Half’ have also been patented, preventing others from performing the exact version of the tricks.
“The price is decided in a secret conversation between buyer and seller,” said Middleton.
But the tips can go at all prices, highs and lows. “I saw an illusion show where one trick cost £ 12,000 and another cost £ 13. The cheapest, a simple card trick, was the one everyone was talking about after the show, ”he said.
“Every magician has a drawer full of stuff that he keeps and never uses … It can become addictive – I know people who spend £ 10,000-20,000 a year on tricks,” he said. he added.
Scott Penrose, former chairman of Magic Circle, a society of magicians, said illusions can be sold second-hand, much like cars.
“Some magicians can only afford a certain number of illusions at a time, so they trade them out like you would a car and they change their routine that way every two years. David Copperfield aren’t selling anything because he can afford to keep them for decades in a large warehouse, ”Mr. Penrose said.
“You never get back what you paid for it. There are accessories that come from America and you pay thousands just to transport them, and then there are border taxes to pay, ”he added.
Mr Penrose said he bought illusions from John Gaughan, known for playing tricks on Mr Copperfield. “I buy them for £ 10,000, take them apart and spend another £ 10,000 to do whatever I want with them,” he said.
The industry is very loosely controlled, but high-level magicians who want to be successful must abide by the moral code and be careful not to steal ideas. “I would be blasted for theft and it would damage my reputation,” added Mr. Penrose. “Often there is no paperwork to say you have a lathe, but it is understood.”
The Magic Circle is a private members’ club in London with different levels of membership. Only people personally invited by the president can become members of the “inner circle”. The company, established in 1905, has a strict list of rules, including opposing the voluntary disclosure of magical secrets. Magicians wishing to join the higher ranks must take exams.
Darryl Rose, another magician who also creates and sells tricks, said, “There is a lot of money to be made if you have a top-selling trick to sell. I know people who have paid off their mortgages with one thing that they managed to sell on a large scale. Mr Rose said his rides sell for £ 50 on average.
Steve Price, a magician, said that several of the tricks he performed cost him over £ 1,000 to find or create. He valued his “assets” of magic tricks at tens of thousands of pounds.
His most expensive was a variation of a classic school tour. The artist places a card on a glass of water, turns it upside down and removes the card without the water running out. The water flows at the right time. “I wanted to make it bigger and better than anything anyone had ever seen, so I made it into a six quart glass, weighing about 6 kg (13 lbs). I made the props and it worked, but then I had to figure out where the water would end up and it was expensive to invent as well, ”he said.
Some tips seem overpriced, given their apparent simplicity. “I once spent £ 80 to learn how to fold a piece of paper. I wasn’t sure it was worth it at the time, but I’ve been using the trick for 10 years, so it clearly was.