Price / What's Included?:
The above is the description for the RNT Chop Cup as it appeared in the original Rings ‘N’ Things Magic Company catalog from the 1970’s. At the time it sold for $13.00, in today’s dollars that would be around $60 bucks.
What a deal considering that included the balls, a bag and instructions; a RNT 2 Chop Cup these days is still close to that price for just the Cup. On a side note... a Don Alan Chop Cup in the catalogue list for $16.00 and a set of Monti Copper Cups for $19.00 (thanks Jeff for the catalogue.)
Delivery Time / Packaging:
I ordered this Cup from e-bay at what I would consider a reasonable price considering there are very few of these Cups still out there; it has taken me a year to find one.
The order was placed on a Friday and I received it on a Tuesday, complete with balls, bag and instructions… all appear to be original. Its shipping box was well packaged, the Cup wrapped in bubble wrap and newspaper.
The instructions even had the list price of $13.00 hand written on them… a lot of things I purchased in the 70’s were marked this way.
Construction / Durability:
The R’NT Chop Cup (as printed in their catalog) is also known as a Julep Cup for its distinctive shape, resembling a cup one might be served a Mint Julep cocktail in at the Kentucky Derby.
It is spun in aluminum with 3 lines in its base and flairs out towards its mouth in an almost bell-like fashion. The earliest of these Cups has 2 lines spun into its base.
As I examined the Julep Cup, I could never quite get over the feeling… that I have seen this shape before, it looked very familiar (more on this later). It was definitely spun in aluminum and polished to a high luster, but has a totally different feeling to it when compared to other early RNT Cups that I have… it seems to be very light.
Its gaff is cleverly spun into the Cup; remember from the description that “The distinctive gimmick to the cup is specifically designed to keep the magnet in the cup from ever talking.” Very similar to some current RNT2 Chop Cups. I have yet to have any Chop Cup gaffs talk to me yet, was this a big problem many, many years ago?
The working ball did its thing from day one, I have checked to see if it is adjustable like today’s RNT2 Chop Balls and found that it is. Appearance wise the balls pretty much look like what is available today, however the new RNT2 balls seem to be crocheted from better yarn.
The Julep Cup feels very much like an aluminum Don Alan Chop Cup in use… feeling just a little lighter in weight. It had no problem holding a lacrosse ball for its final load.
Last time I spoke to Jake Zimmerman (past owner of RNT2), I asked him what he could tell me about the Julep Cup… I am going to paraphrase what he told me…
When asked how many of these Cups were made, Jake answered hundreds… he said that they were originally made as lamp soffits or bulb shades, maybe a 100 were made into Chop Cups.
This made perfect sense to me because the original R’NT owners (Mike Brazill & Sandra Byrrne) also made metal items for other industries besides magic.
Once Jake said that they were lamp soffits, I had flash backs of the 70’s and I swear that I remember seeing these used on a floor lamp.I could plainly see in my mind’s eye, a pole with 4 of these soffits mounted at different levels to it, painted avocado green with a high gloss white base.
As Chop Cups go, the Julep Cup works pretty well at doing its thing, striking the Cup’s leading mouth edge first as it is set upon the table almost always guarantees that the ball dislodges. Will it become my go to Chop Cup… not at all. It is far too light for my liking; I am very pleased though to have it in my collection… it is one of those Cups I can check off of my collection list.
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