The Gold Standard is the latest idea from the creative brain of David Regal. And we think it’s a goodie. The plot is simple a signed card appears pinned under a tie pin (or tie tag as the Americans apparently say). When it is removed it has an actual hole in it (Regal makes much of this aspect!).

As David makes clear on the supplied DVD, this is not a new idea in itself. Indeed, he references a large number of versions and variations and inspirations dating back to the 1940s. But he has refined the idea and added certain improvements – not least ensuring the card has an actual hole in it. Did I mention that before?

What you get

The main item in the attractive box is a nicely made tie pin/tag which is plated in 18 carat gold and should last a lifetime. This is cleverly gimmicked to enable the effect to be performed. You also receive a small jewellery bag to keep it in and a DVD (not just a link to an online video but a genuine DVD!) with all the explanations on it.

It is worth saying a word on the DVD. Mine didn’t play properly at first on my computer, but thankfully came to life with a bit of dusting. However, given the very high standard of most instructional videos these days, this felt a little on the low side. There was quite a bit of background noise and he didn’t appear to be miked. It wasn’t a problem in terms of understanding anything – all was clear – but somehow detracted from the otherwise ‘classy’ feel of the release.

The Teaching

Everything you need to know is explained. It includes the handling of a very simple and effective control which I’ve almost certainly seen before but have equally certainly forgotten! Must store that for wider use.

You get to see a few different live performances which will suggest several different presentational ideas. I loved the comedy ‘spectator as mind-reader’ presentation which has a lovely ‘dual reality’ thing going on before the final punch.

David also explains some more advanced handlings if you are more confident with cards and in particular palming. Of course, the effect isn’t limited to cards – but any roughly two-dimensional item should work – bank notes and business cards being the most obvious alternatives.

david regal - the gold standard - reviewAs I watched at least one of the performances I had a question about a possible noise issue. But he addresses that in the teaching and with a little practise in the handling I don’t think it should be an issue.

Getting to the heart of it

In many ways the great strength of this trick may also be its potential weakness in a UK context. What I love is the ‘organic’ nature of the magic happening with something you are already wearing. The trouble is that in most of the settings in which I perform magicians don’t wear ties! Often I would wear a bow-tie at a more formal occasion (weddings etc.) on no tie in more casual contexts. The lounge-suit and tie-wearing context of the USA isn’t so prevalent here these days (although my friends who have residencies in restaurants may disagree with me here).

However, this isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker. For a start, it could be worn as a (very plain) lapel badge. This is something I would be more likely to wear – and if you look on a well-known and rather green magic forum you will be able to find a very clever/amusing presentational ploy for wearing it here. Secondly, I could just start wearing a tie on occasions! And I’m tempted because the effect is strong enough to make it worthwhile.

Solid gold standard?

This is a solid (gold!) release from Regal. It is pretty easy to do and is more or less instant reset (he does it 3 times in his set as a running gag). The effect is very strong and visual. The props are extremely well made and classy in a slightly retro way.

It does represent a reasonable financial investment, but you are getting a both a nice piece of ‘jewellery’ and very strong magical effect.

The Gold Standard is available from the Merchant of Magic for £70.99 (at the time of writing).

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