Effect: Antoninus Pius's Box 2.0
Artist: Anton Corrandin
Link: Antoninus Pius Version 2.0 - Trick
Retail Price: $60.00 USD
Learning Difficulty: Easy
Notes: This is a self contained effect. You receive paper instructions detailing how the effect is to be performed, and the necessary items in order to do so with.
1 Bag of Sand
1 Wood Carved Box
1 Reset Tool
1 Wooden Sand Scrying Tool
1 Page of Instructions (duel sided)
6 Wood Carved Tiles With Etched in Symbols
The magician presents a beautiful wood carved box and six wooden tiles each with a symble etched into it on one side. He explains the mystery of the legend of Antoninus and his unique way of communicating with his beloved. He then recreates the wonder by having a spectator select a tile, and amazingly enough, scratched in the sand held within the box is the symbol the spectator has chosen! The magician then offers the spectator a free selection and scry into the sand a symbol of their choice, Once done, the spectator erases the mark, but the magician still is able to know what the symbol drawn was.
When I first got the box the effect came in I was a bit shocked at how tiny it was. For 60$ bucks I expected quite frankly a larger product. In the first picture you'll see I've placed a deck of cards up next to the box so you can get a good understanding of it's size in relation to the card box. However I was blown away with the detail and quality of the pieces contained inside. The box and tiles are antiqued to make them look older, and they are very well assembled. The hidden gimmick is also cleverly placed. The detail and images on the box and tiles are engraved, instead of being simply printed or painted on. A nice touch if you ask me. The gimmick, while well hidden, is very simple to use, and reset is fast, but not instant.
This piece of magic is story telling magic, and will rely on your power of presentation over mastery of sleight of hand. The unique appearance of the props involved will certainly help captivate the imagination of your spectators as you spin a wild story of a legendary event from long ago. This is the kind of effect that you can spend only minutes to learn how to do, and hours researching stories and brainstorming your own applications. As usual with most magic that I buy I wasn't thrilled with the patter that comes stock with the effect. For starters it's called “Antoninus Pius's Box”. By itself that isn't a big deal for me, but when the creator of the box is named Anton I really begin to doubt that the Roman emperor referenced in the legend really existed. The legend that is supplied with the props suggests that Antoninus communicated with his beloved by scratching words into sand, and then by some magical force she'd be able to pick up special stones with words written on them to match what was written in the sand. Well if that's the case, then the tiles selected should have words written on them, not ESP symbols. Also, the legend never mentions a box of any kind, so it's a bit hard to justify the prop you're now using to perform the miracle with. I may sound like I'm knit picking at this point but when you're performing story or bizarre magic your presentation is EVERYTHING. If it's not believable then you'll disconnect with your audience, and you don't want that. Given the simplicity of the effect though, you really shouldn't have any trouble creating your own presentations, and given the poor one provided I highly recommend that you plan to do so.
On a side note the sand I received in my product likes to clump up easily making it difficult to erase the marks made in it by just shaking the box. I don't know if this is a consistent thing for all the sand in all the products purchased, or if I just happened to get the one odd one in the bunch. While I haven't tried experimenting with other types of sand for this effect as of yet, I think that if I continue using it in my act that it is something that I should explore.
The effect comes with a single page of instructions, with material printed on both sides. The front side details the materials you've received, discusses the legend you'll need to memorize and tell, and walks you through the necessary set up to make the effect work. The other side explains the handling and execution of the effect. After reading through the instructions I have to admit, they felt rushed. It's very obvious (judging from certain grammatical errors) that the instructions weren't originally written in English. They've been translated, and some sloppy mistakes have been made here and there. Not that it matters, you should be able to figure out how the effect is done without even touching the instructions in the first place. The instructions include two grainy black and white photos to help illustrate the important parts of the handling and presentation. I wouldn't say the instructions are a difficult read, just an annoying one at parts.
This effect is quite practical to be used in the working world. It does present some challenges that you need to over come though, for example the props that you'll need to use. This isn't a walk around effect, because the box would be kind of awkward to shove in a pocket, but if you are working at a table for a small audience, then it's perfect. I would be careful about presenting this on a stage unless you had some kind of video projection going for you, since the important details may be a bit hard to see from the third row on back. Whether you chose to present the effect with the patter that comes stock with the purchase, or invent your own you will need to memorize a script, but the amount of material you'll need to memorize is small so it shouldn't take long at all.
Over All Opinion:
This product is marketed as a mentalism effect by its creator, but I think it fits better into the bizarre genre of magic. I like the story aspect that this effect offers, and the props that you get are beautiful. Overall I really liked this effect, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to add a little story time to their act!
When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Performance Practicality and Over all Quality.
Product Quality: 7
I loved the product. I think the wooden box, carved images, tiles supplied are well constructed, and the gimmick is well hidden. The price is also fair for what you receive.
Teaching Quality: 4
I felt the quality of the instructional pamphlet was rushed. It's obvious that it was a translation so that affords it some sympathy, but then again this is a product I'm spending money on. So I have to be critical of that. I think the difference in quality between the instructions and the actual product are noticeable.
Performance Practicality: 8
The effect is very practical. It cleans up quickly (but not instantly), and can be repeated. The outcome of the predictions aren't preset, so it can be done for the same audience twice. The gimmick is very clever. This is ideal for small stationary audiences, parlor, or small stage.
Over All Quality: 8
I think the over all quality of the product is well worth the investment. This is a piece that has the potential to stay with you for years. While it's no reputation maker, it is a fun bit to perform. Usually this score is an average of the first three, but I had to give this one a little bump. I don't feel the low quality of the instructions really should take away from the overall quality of the effect. This certainly has earned the Draven's Seal status of: Approved!