Archive for the ‘The Dealer’s Desk’ Category

postheadericon Trickery Affiliates on Facebook

There are several ways you can market The Trickery through your affiliate membership on Facebook. It’s fun and it’s easy to do. And who knows? It could bring in some extra cash! IF you haven’t done so already, you will need to request a Trickery Affiliate ID. It takes about 3 minutes to fill our our form. The form is located here. If you want to learn more about how The Trickery’s Affiliate Network works, then click here!

1. A Post on Your Wall
Simply click in the box on your wall that states, “Write something…”
Next click on Link. You will see a text box that begins with “http://”
Type or paste the following:
(replace the xxxxx with your affiliate id)

You will see the following…

The cool thing is that all of this will automatically appear for you as if by magic!
You can select the thumbnail of choice to be displayed from the options provided.

The final thing to do is to click on the Share button and this will be posted to your wall.

You can link directly to a product of your choosing as well.
(replace the xxxxx with your affiliate id)
“8419” in thew above link is the item’s SKU number. It can be found on the detail page of any item.


2. A Note to all of your Facebook friends
Click the:
“+”  –>  “Notes”  –> “+ Write a New Note” 
Give your note a title.
Write whatever it is you’re going to write.

An example might be….

Check out The Trickery Magic Shop.
It’s a very cool place to buy unusual magic tricks for your friends, family or even yourself!
If you’re a beginner or collector, it doesn’t matter! They have it all!
Visit them at…

Next you will want to add some very basic HTML tags to make your note look a bit more upscale rather than just plain text.
<b>Check out The Trickery Magic Shop.</b>
<br />
It’s a very cool place to buy unusual magic tricks for your friends, family or even yourself!
If you’re a beginner or collector, it doesn’t matter! They have it all!
<br /> <br />
Visit them at…
<br /> <br />
<a href=”“> The Trickery</a>

The result will be…

Of course if you spent a little playtime, it will look a lot nicer. For helpful hints on HTML, there will be a link towards the bottom of your note.
It will state, “Feeling bold? Format your note“. This will give you a cheat sheet of HTML format tags to make your note look better.

Once your note is created and saved, you can share it by posting it on your wall, or sending to a select friends. You should set the status for the note to available to everyone.

From the note creation page you can also upload an image. It can be a product image or one of our logos. You can then tag various friends from the image.


You do NOT want to bombard your friends or your page with ad after ad otherwise, your friends will soon dislike you very much! When I post on my page, it’s every few days. With too much repetition, you’re words will become invisible to everyone. At some point, they don’t even see the ads anymore because they’ve become so accustomed to seeing them so often. Slow and steady wins the race!


3. Automated Blog Publishing on Facebook
I like having things happen on their own without any extra work from me! Every time I publish an article on Trickery Talk it magically appears on my Facebook page as well as other magic related sites.  It happens through an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feed. Facebook has several applications that will pick up an RSS feed from your blog site or website. When you make a post, the app checks to see if the post is new. If it is, it automatically publishes the post to your Facebook page.


And there you have it! Three simple steps to help your affiliate efforts on Facebook!

postheadericon Affiliate Coding

Simply replace the XXXXX with your affiliate account id that was emailed to you.

Your account ID is: XXXXX

To link to The Trickery’s


Ex. – To link to the Bye George DVD:

The number 8242 in the above link is the Item Number for this product.
All products have their item numbers listed on their respective detail pages.
The listing page which shows the thumbnails also shows the Item Number.
To view the number from a listing page, simply mouse-over the image.

Ex. – The ‘New’ Category:

To link anywhere else in the site
add: &myaf=XXXXX to the end of a link.

Reporting is now done is real time by month.
To access your reports, you will need to log-in to your account with us:
You can also get to this link by clicking My Account or Log-in link at The Trickery’s home page.

Once logged in, there will be a link:
“Click here to check on the status of your orders.”
A second link which states:
“Click here for Affiliate Orders” will be there.
This is the link that will show you the sales shipped that were ordered through your web site.

On a side note…
You are also registered as a customer with us. Our system now houses customers and affiliates under the same roof!
If you have any questions, please call us at 1-973-657-0446.


The Trickery

postheadericon Make $$$ on Facebook w/ The Trickery




Here’s a neat idea. It doesn’t involve a lot of work and it’s actually fun to put together! In times like these, we all need to pull from various resources to make ends meet. Here’s a fun way to earn some extra cash to help pay down your credit card bills, rent or mortgage or just create a little pocket change for your playtoys!


Many of you have a Facebook account. If you don’t, set-up on is smple and painless and takes all of a few minutes. Once your account is in place, the next step is for you to become a Trickery Affiliate. It takes a few minutes to fill out our form and within 24 hours you will be notified via email with detailed instuctions on how to incorporate everything into Facebook.


Some of our affiliates earn between $100-$500 every month! These guys constantly update their sites and stay on top of their game! This is the first time we’ve offered up affiliate partnerships to Facebook members and  expect it to do very well.


Here’s what you need to do in 5 easy steps!


  1. Create your Facebook account.
  2. Sign-up for The Trickery’s Affiliate Network.
  3. Receive your code and instructions within 24 hours via email.
  4. Log into your Facebook account.
  5. Post your ad with your personal affiliate code on your wall or in a note.


Repetition every couple of days along with being a virtual salesperson will ultimately lead to sales.  Most often, things just don’t happen overnight. You’ve heard me say in the past that slow and steady wins the race….and it does! And remember, you can always contact me for thoughts and advice.


Good luck! We hope to cut a check to you soon!


If  you’d like a more universal money making concept, check out one of our other business ventures by clicking here!

postheadericon A New Beginning 
Visit The Trickery Magic Shop!

The start of a new year brings many things to the table. As we look back on our accomplishments we forge ahead to new goals and dreams. Last year one of my personal goals was to give up cigarettes. It’s been a year and a day since my last one. That was a tough one to overcome. 2008 was a difficult year every which way. In October, I lost my father. While it was somewhat expected, it’s something every son and daughter never want to think about. Every three months Rose and I take a trip into the city for my oncology appointment. So far I’m managing to avoid Chemo. While treatment is inevitable at some point, I feel great. The non-smoking weight, as I like to call it, seems to have stockpiled on almost overnight! More cardio and lifting and better eating!  That’s this year’s goal! I did it before; I can do it again!

2008 brought on the recession which has affected us all in one way or another. Anyone in the magic biz who tells you their business has not been touched is simply lying! We were forced to do some lay-offs and revamp our strategies. The tough part about that, besides the obvious, is that I am very close with everyone that worked here and miss their company everyday.

Over the years The Trickery has accomplished some amazing goals, too. We were the first magic shop to run on-line video demos.  We developed the first magic video site on the Internet dedicated strictly to magic. It’s still there at I believe we are still the only magic shop that has a separate database for mobile phone users. We’ve marketed a vast array of wondrous items, many of them collectible. We have the most incredible technologies far superior to any magic site thanks to Digital Cheetah. We’ve  built an inventory of over 3000 items, 95% of them stocked. We’ve also made many good friends through The Trickery. Lots of accomplishments over the years!

And now, 16 years later, we’re changing our business model. It’s not something you will notice overnight. In fact, it’s been happening for the last 8 months. We’ve been phasing out the majority of our inventory. We no longer rely on the jobbers to supply us with our wares. Yes, we have phased out the middleman! In doing so, much of the inventory we offered will no longer be available. Two lines that are being discontinued are Mikame and Mark Mason’s JB Magic. Over the years we’ve sold tens of thousands of dollars from just these two lines alone. Now that they are offered to everyone at 20% off their market price (which BTW has risen quite a bit), it simply doesn’t make sense for us to carry them any longer now that their name and value has cheapened.

So what is our new business model? It’s simple! Our plan is to carry only the better quality props and items along with selected value-added products. We will continue to offer select lines like CW, Viking, Magic Wagon, Harries, Tony Clark, Bob Solari, etc. We have also been building our own brand and plan to expand on this by 200%!

Currently, our older exclusives are first priority. We have our Mysterious Mini Card Boxes and Mysterious Coin Box currently in mass production. Several brand new items to the magic market are now undergoing the R&D needed to bring these gems to life this year. We are working on the funding to produce close to 50 incredible items!

We look forward to an exciting 2009 and wish all of our fans and friends a happy and healthy New Year!

Always my best,
Howard A. Baltus, CEO
The Trickery,LLC

postheadericon Letter to the Post Office

To whomever may care:

Your Clip ‘n Ship site has been down since yesterday morning. This morning the situation was the same. While I understand I am stating the obvious, why isn’t there a post stating the site is essentially out of order? Your phone lines at 800-344-7779 were blown out due to an overwhelming number of calls.

As a result, the 5% discount was lost, one of my staff had to wait in line at the post office, and labels were done manually. This has gone on for 24 hours which is unacceptable for an ecommerce site of any magnitude not to mention the fact IT IS HOLIDAY SEASON despite the recession! You have not posted any notice whatsoever indicating that there is a problem or when it might be resolved. When I tried to explain this to a supervisor from customer service, he hung up on me.

Realizing that most people are hourly government employees or subcontracted without the proper overseeing of management doesn’t give sway to the fact that it is OK not to have a clue and keep your customers in the dark.

While I truly do not expect anyone to reply, it would be nice if this letter were framed and mounted on the wall of some VP who dares to think it is proper to provide help, support and a bit of old fashioned customer care and concern to your customers.

Regards and holiday cheer,
Howard A. Baltus, CEO
The Trickery, LLC

postheadericon Farewell to a Magic Icon

I received the following email a few moments ago from George Robinson of Viking /CW.

It is with a saddened heart that I pass on the news that one of our good friends has passed away, El Duco (Christer Gustavsson) of Sweden. I first met El Duco many years ago at an IBM convention. We became instant friends and looked forward to our annual meetings at the Desert Seminar in Vegas. He was a true gentleman and a real friend to Magic. Chris was an innovator and inventor with over 200 effects to his name. I spoke to him about a month ago and he was even then, working on a new effect. I was aware of his illness but I never imagined that he would be taken from us so soon.

I ask that you take a moment to clap your hands together one last time in appreciation for a unique performer and friend. We should all be sent off to great applause. He touched many people in the world of Magic and will be truly missed.

May He Rest In Peace. Farewell good friend.

While we communicated mostly through email, I met Christer in person only one time; he was very sweet and humble. As I built The Trickery, I focused on select companies that helped us become a successful magic company. El Duco was one of the very special lines for us. Never issues, problems or worries when dealing with Christer Gustavsson. Sadly, he and his company will be missed.

postheadericon Sarantochas – Believe in an Ass

 Believe in an ass!

Those of you who know me on more of a personal level know that I have never been a fan of Christopher Nicholas Sarantakos. It’s not that I don’t like his TV magic (I don’t!); I just don’t like him on a personal level. It has something to do with him siccing his lawyer on us several years ago when he worked the basement of the WWF building in NYC. You’ll find that story in an earlier post somewhere in this blog.

I was always a believer that what goes around comes around. Apparantly, Mr. Sarantakos’ ability to do poorly executed magic tricks became a reality during his Las Vegas Cirque debut. It ruined perhaps the greatest illusion that Christopher created; the illusion that he is a talented magician.

Doug Elfman, of the Las Vegas Review-Journal began the first paragraph of his review by stating, “Creatively, “Believe” is a possibly unsalvageable “waste of time” and a “dead end” that literally bored some audience members to sleep.”

You can find Doug’s full review at the following link:

While I haven’t seen his show, I cannot offer a personal review. I can only hope that Cirque purchased the rights to his stage name and that they release him from his contract and replace him with a talented magician/actor who they will call Chris Angel. Yes, I spelled his first name correctly! One day Chris will learn to spell. 

postheadericon The Madness of It All


2 Bill Whaaa?

One of the more noteworthy pieces of magic marketed in the last year is Miser’s Delight. It brings a full routine with ending to the D’lites item marketed almost 20 years ago.

Recently, it came to our attention that a pirated version of this wonderful effect came onto the market. Magic City, Mak Magic and now Robbins are distributing this item. The knock-off manufacturer shows no signs of halting production. We are suggesting that the originator take action by having a Cease & Desist order sent to the distributors and the company producing the pirated version through an attorney. The original version which we have supported for some time is manufactured here in the U.S. by some of the nicest people you can meet. The man who designed it, wrote the software, and hand builds each one.

It is truly unfortunate that the morality is still lacking in this industry.

Not to my surprise, the shops that pose little or no ethics like Hocus-Pocus essentially said, “Screw You!” to the originators of Miser’s Delight. I would think that the lack of cash flow forces these shops to buy and promote the knock-off versions. Obviously, the jobbers don’t care about the creators or the harm it ultimately causes.

I was surprised to see Hank Lee also offering the pirated version. I thought that Hank would at least appreciate the harm that promoting these type of things really does. I can’t be the only dealer that still cares about people and doing what is right, can I?

And in the madness of it all, I can only think…
“Perhaps a collectible version of Strat-o-sphere or my take on Impossible Bill/Card in Bottle would be acceptable? Time will tell.”

postheadericon $2 Whaaa?!

One2Many…an early Trickery exclusive that split
a $2 bill into two single bills.
The $2 Bill? The younger generation doesn’t know they exist!

2 Bill Whaaa?

The following story was submitted to me by one of my customers.
Thought it was great so I’m sharing it with you.

On my way home from work, I stopped at Taco Bell for a quick bite to eat. In my billfold are a $50 bill and a $2 bill. I figure that with a $2 bill, I can get something to eat and not have to worry about anyone getting irritated at me for trying to break a $50 bill.

Me: Hi, I’d like one seven-layer burrito please, to go.

Server: That’ll be $1.04. Eat in?

Me: No, it’s to go.’ At this point, I open my billfold and hand him the $2 bill. He looks at it kind of funny.

Server: Uh, hang on a sec, I’ll be right back.

He goes to talk to his manager, who is still within my earshot. The following conversation occurs between the two of them:

Server: Hey, you ever see a $2 bill?

Manager: No. A what?

Server: A $2 bill. This guy just gave it to me.

Manager: Ask for something else. There’s no such thing as a $2 bill.

Server: Yeah, thought so.

He comes back to me and says, “We don’t take these. Do you have anything else?

Me: Just this fifty. You don’t take $2 bills? Why?

Server: I don’t know.

Me: See here where it says legal tender?

Server: Yeah.

Me: So, why won’t you take it?

Server: Well, hang on a sec.

He goes back to his manager, who has been watching me like I’m a shoplifter, and says to him, “He says I have to take it”.

Manager: Doesn’t he have anything else?

Server: Yeah, a fifty. I’ll get it and you can open the safe and get change.

Manager: I’m not opening the safe with him in here.

Server: What should I do?

Manager: Tell him to come back later when he has real money.

Server: I can’t tell him that! You tell him.

Manager: Just tell him.

Server: No way! This is weird. I’m going in back.

The manager approaches me and says, “I’m sorry, but we don’t take big bills this time of night.”

Me: It’s only seven o’clock! Well then, here’s a two dollar bill.

Manager: We don’t take those, either.

Me: Why not?

Manager: I think you know why.

Me: No really, tell me why.

Manager: Please leave before I call mall security.

Me: What on earth for?

Manager: Please, sir.

Me: Uh, go ahead, call them.

Manager: Would you please just leave?

Me: No.

Manager: Fine — have it your way then.

Me: Hey, that’s Burger King, isn’t it?

At this point, he backs away from me and calls mall security on the phone around the corner. I have two people staring at me from the dining area, and I begin laughing out loud, just for effect. A few minutes later this 45-year-oldish guy comes in.

Guard: Yeah, Mike, what’s up?

Manager (whispering): This guy is trying to give me some (pause) funny money.

Guard: No kidding! What?

Manager: Get this .. A two dollar bill.

Guard (incredulous): Why would a guy fake a two dollar bill?

Manager: I don’t know. He’s kinda weird. He says the only other thing he has is a fifty.

Guard: Oh, so the fifty’s fake!’

Manager: No, the two dollar bill is.

Guard: Why would he fake a two dollar bill?

Manager: I don’t know! Can you talk to him, and get him out of here?

Guard: Yeah.

Security Guard walks over to me and ……Mike here tells me you have some fake bills you’re trying to use.

Me: Uh, no.

Guard: Lemme seeem.

Me: Why?

Guard: Do you want me to get the cops in here?

At this point I am ready to say, “Sure, please!”, but I want to eat, so I sayI’m just trying to buy a burrito and pay for it with this two dollar bill.

I put the bill up near his face, and he flinches like I’m taking a swing at him.

He takes the bill, turns it over a few times in his hands, and says, “Hey, Mike, what’s wrong with this bill?”

Manager: It’s fake.

Guard: It doesn’t look fake to me.

Manager: But it’s a two dollar bill.

Guard: Yeah?

Manager: Well, there’s no such thing, is there?

The security guard and I both look at him like he’s an idiot, and it dawns on the guy that he has no clue. So, it turns out that my burrito was free, and he threw in a small drink and some of those cinnamon thingies, too. Made me want to get a whole stack of two dollar bills just to see what happens when I try to buy stuff. If I got the right group of people, I could probably end up in jail. You get free food there, too.
Just think, .. those two will be voting soon!

postheadericon Seeing the Future

Magic Future

 Riding the up and down waves of the economical rough waters is nothing new to the world. We’ve noted and experienced change in every industry known to man since the beginning of time. When I was a child we had black and white television sets. Remote control? Huh? Phones without a cord? What? Web, Internet, email? The magic industry, too, has been through many changes in the last several years. However, it still remains stagnant in its thinking and overall concept of what the art is, has become, and the way in which its products are sold. For a few sentences, that’s quite a lot to think about conceptually!


We’ll start at the turn of the century. The sale of magic tricks was pretty much experienced through the magic shop. Usually an old dusty and cluttered store that sold mostly prop magic. Most things were manufactured by the shop owner or his staff. They were well thought out and they worked! Parlor and stage magic were the venues in which everyone wanting to be a magician indulged themselves.


Decades later the concept of mail order print catalogs was born. These catalogs were sometimes just a printed page or flyer advertising the magic merchant’s wares or several pages that formed a booklet. In the 60’s Abbott’s Magic was the choice for purchasing your stage props. The U.F. Grant product line was also a top choice for buying prop effects. While both of these companies are still around today, Abbott’s doesn’t produce much of anything anymore and Grant, now Mak Magic, has gone in an entirely different direction carrying mostly imported items of low cost and quality.


As print catalogs became even more popular in the 70’s and 80’s, Tannen’s Magic and Hank Lee emerged as two of magic’s giant retailers who pretty much dominated the market for quite some time. While the catalogs were mostly made up of line art sketches and drawings, they were enough to give you a clue about the prop. The ad copy was clever and very enticing. I used to keep the catalogs on my nightstand and had pretty much everything memorized from prices to names to prop sketches burned in my mind!


Brick & Mortar (a term only of recent years) magic shops were abundant. Growing up in Philadelphia as a child there were many choices. Nat Litt, Jack Chanins, Lee Gray, Kanters, The Magic Shop (now Daytona). During the early 90’s the popularity of the Internet came into play. Shops that still operated without an on-line presence slowly faded from existence. Those that didn’t understand the Net and set up poorly designed storefronts on-line did not make the final cut. A couple did make through.


The end of an era marked the dawn of a new magic retailer, the Magic E-tailer. The Trickery was one of the early pioneers of magic e-tailing. While we operated under the same guise as the traditional magic storefront, we had access to many more potential customers. We played by the same rules as the other shops, only to a vaster market. We did it properly and didn’t break the rules which have help earn and keep a solid reputation with competitors and suppliers.


In the early part of this century, magic on-line was still evolving. Several start-up companies made their debut. Murphy’s Magic, one of largest distributors of magic was opened in 2001. The Magic Cafe, a BBS dedicated to magic hobbyists also magically appeared in 2001. Penguin Magic, a magic retailer, launched their site in 2002. Taking the old concept of deep discounting, Penguin decided on this marketing approach. Other newbie dealers followed suit. Murphy’s changed the rules by offering a zero minimum for purchasing from them at wholesale level. The hobbyists and those on a tight budget informed themselves of the cheap wares to be gotten through the message boards.


In the last couple of years, hundreds of wanna-be magic dealers set up shop on the Internet at discounted prices for items they do not stock that are offered by Murphy’s Magic. Every day I receive emails from these guys informing me of the wonderful last minute savings deal of the day.


Fast forward to today. This country is in deplorable economical shape and the vast majority of Americans feel the crunch. Less is being bought and less is being sold. Hobby industries are usually one of the first to feel the pressures of a tough economy. While overseas sales pick up, US sales decline.


In the unregulated magic industry, I see jobbers (distributors) purchasing from each other rather than buying new and creating new. I see an overabundance of emails announcing sales and discounted prices. I see magic vendors and jobbers restrategizing their plans for business. Companies that advertised in the trade publications and on-line portals are no longer visible. When I talk to business people within the industry, they tell the same stories.


One tell that something is going on in our industry is when I notice an increase in traffic on forum sites and other non-selling magic sites. My resources and tools used to measure these things are credible and reliable. It’s true. When the chatter is up, the sales are on a rapid decline.


What is the future of it all? Let’s assume for a moment that one of the jobber giants is taken out of the equation. Of course I am speaking of Murphy’s Magic. Almost immediately, every magic discounter is out of business! Think about that! 60-80% of the current on-line merchants that buy the majority of their goods (or at least list them) from Murphy’s Magic are gone. Every manufacturer and creator who sells their product line exclusively to Murphy’s has no other outlet for bulk quantity sales. At that point who survives?


The answer is simple. A new ice age in theory. We go back to the beginning. The magic dealer that manufactures his own line who does not rely on any one or two companies to control their business survives. The merchant who understands profit and not gross sales survives.


To be cliché, slow and steady wins the race. Holding firm and not retreating, re-evaluating changing conditions, learning to adapt and then carrying forth a profitable plan of action will ensure victory. Educating consumers and focusing on customer service and care doesn’t hurt either.


Your thoughts and comments are welcomed.

Chat with Howard