A Short Article on the Okito Box & Other Coin Boxes

lassen okito box
Todd Lassen Okito Box

Compiled by Doug Atkinson 

Last Update: 05 Feb 2007  Added photo of Old Style Box

The Okito Box is a small, unassuming box that is just large enough to hold 4-5 quarter, half-dollar or dollar-sized coins (with variations for popular coins of other countries as well). Using this small box and its variations, coins can vanish from the box, reappear in the box, penetrate the box, transpose, and so forth. This is one of those tricks that is often included in Junior magic sets because of the simplicity of design, so careful crafting and execution of the professional performance is necessary to ensure success.

The Okito Box was developed by Theodore Bamberg (1875-1963), otherwise known as Okito, who operated the Bamberg Magic & Novelty Company in New York, USA. The Magic Inventions website (http://magicinventions.com) credits Theo with inventing the Okito box in 1909. However, Mohammed Bey's book states that 1911 was the year of invention. Bobo's New Modern Coin Magic actually states both dates (1911 in Chapter X and 1909 in Chapter XX). 

The Okito Box is simple in design, and resembles a old-style pill box with just a base and a lid (see graphics below). Okito boxes are usually made of metal. Brass is most common, but aluminum and steel boxes are also available. You may also find boxes in wood, plastic and other materials, but a good box should have some weight to it to be effective.

Okito Box Styles

Types of Boxes: Since the original Okito Box was developed, many variants have been produced as well. Some of these include:

Okito Box: As shown above, can come in various shapes. The Mohammed Bey book features an Okito Box with a small hole in the lid and the base, though which a needle can pass. I have also seen some with holes large enough to see the coins inside through. Most boxes today (circa 2000) have solid lids.
Boston Box: George Boston developed a variation of the Okito box that features a recessed bottom. This allows the box to appear full even after the steal has been made.
German Box: Essentially a Boston Box without a lid
Slot Box: Internally modified Okito Box.
Solid (Plug) Box: A solid Okito box. Switch with Okito/Boston box to add mystery.
Solid Box with Attached Lid: as above
Small Diameter Box: An Okito box with a smaller opening. Coins won't fit in it. Use like the Solid box.
No Bottom Box: Simply a ring with no bottom, potential use for comedy effect
Chop Boxes: Okito boxes modified with a Chop Cup type gimmick. Handy to throw off those familiar with the basic Okito box
Clear Okito Box: certainly limits some routines!

Some commercial variations: (I don't know the workings of these, which is good since this is a non-disclosure site anyway!)

The Beyond Okito Box (BO-Box) by Definitive Magic (Bob Solari and The Trickery)
Buddha Boxes by Chazpro: standard boxes but with a rounded, attractive design
David Roth Boxes: Boxes specially designed by coin expert, David Roth
"O" Kito Box by Dean Dill: manufactured by Jamie Schoolcraft Precision Magic
Dragon Boxes by Dr. Bob Dogget: beautiful dragon inscription on lid
Duvivier Coin Box: by Dominique Duvivier
Aqua-Okito Box by Eddie Gibson: combo Okito and Boston Box and special inner box
T.C. Coin Box at Hank Lee's Magic Factory. Ends with a Solid Climax with no switch.
Star Okito Box by Viking Manufacturing: Oktio box with a hold out built in and an Art Deco Design.

Design Considerations: Opinions may vary on the best design for an Okito box, but the following are some basics.

The box should have some weight for easy handling. Some Okito box moves take advantage of the weight of the box.
The box should be large enough in diameter to somewhat loosely fit the coins you wish to use (including expanded shells if you plan to use them). This allows the box to be rattled to prove the coins are still in there. However, it should be noted that John Mulholland states in Bobo's coin magic book that his boxes were designed specifically not to allow the coins to rattle. This allows you to show a coin is in the box by rattling it in an upward and downward motion, or to show it empty by rattling it sideways.

The lid should fit somewhat loosely; necessary for some Okito Box moves

The photos below show two boxes:  A Jim Zee Okito box with plenty of wiggle room, and a Tannen's Aluminum box in which the half dollar just fits:

Zee Okito size tannenokitosize

Okito Box Routining:

There are many routines available featuring the Okito box and similar boxes. Please refer to the Okito Box Reference page for a listing of Books, Videos/DVDs, and Products featuring these props.

Photos: below are some additional photos of Okito Boxes

Thompson Okito Box "Old Style" ½ and ½ Style. Photo ©Lee Jacobs Productions from J.G. Thompson's Miracle Makers book

Todd Lassen Okito Box

Todd Lassen Okito Boxes (Samples; used with permission)

Jim Zee Okito Box

Jim "Zee" Zachary Okito Box 
Tannen Aluminum Aluminum Okito Box (originally purchased from Tannen's)

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