English Tenyo Packaging

Various Types of Tenyo English Packages

Tenyo packages are almost as special as the tricks to some collectors. Back when magic was packaged in nondescript packaging like manilla envelopes and plain unmarked boxes, Tenyo release tricks in small colorful cardboard boxes with an illustration on the front (see above photo) and a description on the back. The early tricks in these small boxes were classic tricks invented previously by others, but the eye-catching boxes made them good sellers at the magic shops. Tenyo revised their packaging over the years but one thing was constant, the packaging was interesting and eye-catching and in most cases you could clearly see what you were getting.

Creating an English Packaged Tenyo Collection

If you are trying to complete a packaged Tenyo collection, this page will be very helpful to you. I recommend getting sealed English packaged Tenyo tricks for your collection. The reason why I recommend English packages is three-fold. 1. If you are an English-speaking Tenyo collector (which you most likely are if you are reading this), you can read the packages and instructions which will lead to a better experience and appreciation of the trick. 2. English packaged tricks are the only packages that used the T-Number system which makes it interesting and fun to complete. 3. In general, a sealed package trick is worth twice as much as a trick without packaging which will make your collection more valuable.

For your collection, try to obtain English packages in the best possible condition. Sealed English packaged tricks are not always easily obtainable for many of the older tricks. Strive to get a sealed package trick, but if not available or too expensive then a like new trick in a neatly opened package is good and if that is not available then a trick without packaging will do until you can find better. Also I suggest you get the trick in the original packaging that it first appeared in. For instance, T-163 Burglar Ball is available in a small colorful box but it was originally released in the Cello Bag w. Aqua Card (see Figure 1). If it is a small box trick then Variation One is the best, followed by Variation Two and then Variation Three if you can’t find the earlier ones. You will learn about the Small Box Variations later in this article.

If you are having problems finding the English package, then I recommend getting the Japanese package (if available) until you can find the English package. For some tricks, English packages hardly exist. For T-70 Chinese Linking Rings and T-83 Super Sponge Ball, I have never seen English packaging, not even in a picture. So for those two tricks and a couple of others that I am having problems finding English packages for, I have Japanese packages, at least for now.

Recently Tenyo has abandoned English packaging and is just providing packages in Japanese. There is an English version of these that have printed English instructions in cello bags that are attached to the back of the package (see Figure 2). You can usually get these from U.S. sellers right when they are released, but they are hard to find after that. I suggest getting these if you can.

While many Tenyo collectors try to get tricks for their collection in sealed packages, other collectors are happy just to have the trick itself, and are not willing to pay, or cannot afford to pay, the high cost of the packaged items. If you just collect sealed packaged tricks and never play with or perform with them, you will not appreciate your collection as much so I recommend getting opened tricks to play with and perform.


Types of Tenyo English Packages

The Tenyo T-Numbers start off with T-1 Thimble. The Small Box contains one simple red thimble and very basic printed instructions with illustrations. There are three basic variations to the Small Box packages (see Figure 3). The oldest variation uses a typewriter font (Courier) on the back for the description. After that Tenyo used a plain font (Helvetica) on the back for the description. With the most recent variation, Tenyo used cartoon illustrations for the description on the back. There are even variations with the variations. Even though the two boxes in Figure 4 are Variation One, they were printed at different times. You can tell this by seeing the difference in the trade marks printed on the back of the box. It was not just the Small Box packages that have three variations, you can see it with other early packages as well (see Figures 5 and 6).

Starting with T-69 Dynamic Coins, Tenyo started using a colorful cardboard card with the trick held in a clear plastic bubble, vacuum formed to fit the trick. I call this type of packaging Vintage Blister on Card. The Vintage Blister on Card were the most prevalent (66 tricks) of all the packaging types that Tenyo used over the years. On the front of the card was the trick name in an interesting display font and a colorful illustration (see Figure 7). The back of the card contained a detailed description with accompanying illustrations (see Figure 8). These packages are the most sought after, and certain sealed tricks in this type of packaging can go for over a hundred dollars in the secondary markets. The last trick to be packaged in the manner was T-162 Credit Slasher. After Credit Slasher, Tenyo tried some other packaging solutions that did not work well. Nine tricks were released in what I call Cello Bag w. Aqua Card and seventeen tricks were released in the what I call Plastic Boxes w. Color Card. Soon after using those two packaging solution, Tenyo returned to the cardboard card with the trick held in a clear plastic bubble which I call Modern Blister on Card. Although not as colorful and flamboyant as the Vintage Blister on Card packages, it was still a better solution than the previous two. Today many of the tricks are packaged in cardboard boxes like the Modern English Box and the World’s Greatest Magic Box, but Tenyo will mix in a blister on card package every so often that are very reminiscent of the early Vintage Blister on Card packages (see Figure 9).

Below is my attempt to break down the approximately 250 English packaged T-Numbered tricks into categories.

Small Box (24)
The small box Tenyo magic tricks all come in a box that is 2 inches wide by 3.375 inches tall by 1.125 inches deep. The only exception is Billiard Balls which is slightly deeper. Much of the early Tenyo came in a small box starting with T-1 Thimble.

T-1 Thimble                T-14 Chameleon Silk       T-33 Coin and Glass
T-2 Angel's Coin           T-18 Million Flower       T-36 Billiard Balls
T-4 Dice Vision            T-19 Match and Flower     T-38 Crystal Box
T-7 An-Gra                 T-20 Cubio                T-46 Little Saving Box
T-8 Trio Cigarette         T-22 Time-Capsule         T-47 Astro Coin
T-9 Funny Dog              T-23 Rainbow Silks        T-62 Fantastic
T-10 Silk from Hanky       T-29 Changing Silks       T-65 Magic Tube
T-11 Color Change Flower   T-30 Twin Flower          T-88 Million Flower

Thin Box (9)
There are nine packages in this category although there are not all the same size. What they have in common is that the are small and thin.

T-3 Diminishing Cards      T-17 Coin Through Match   T-48 Coin Case
T-5 Arabian Card           T-26 Glass Board          T-77 See Through Card
T-16 Mystic Ruby           T-39 Crazy Spots          T-98 The Sandwich Platter

Long Box (4)
There are four long boxes which are hard to store. They are the same size as far as height and width are concerned but the depth varies.

T-12 Coin Fan
T-21 Dyeing Paper
T-24 Crystal Tube
T-27 Chinese Sticks

Various Box Shapes & Sizes (21)
There are twenty packages in this category and the sizes are not consistent but what is consistent is that they are all in colored cardboard boxes.

T-15 Cups and Balls       T-64 Melting Loop        T-87 Squeeze Play
T-31 Milk Tumbler         T-66 Occult Board        T-90 Elevator Coin
T-32 Sutekina Trick       T-68 Silk to Egg         T-95 Mr. Rabbit
T-35 Water Suspension     T-71 Rope to Silk        T-100 Two In One Rope
T-37 Penetro-Coin         T-76 Water Mystery       T-132 The Ninja Experiment
T-40 Card Case            T-79 Vase a la India     T-133 Bare Bones
T-41 Fanning Cards        T-80 Sponge Balls
T-63 Disney World

Flat Packed (6)
The sizes of the flat packed tricks are not consistent but what they have in common is that they are very flat packages

T-6 In The News
T-13 Kings and Aces
T-25 Silk Serenade
T-28 What's Next?
T-42 Astro-Tube
T-43 Invisible Man

Vintage Blister on Card (66)
These are the most sought after Tenyo packages and it is clear to see why. There are a few different sizes represented here but they are all very close in size.

T-69 Dynamic Coins          T-113 Quick Silver        T-140 Superspike
T-72 Flash Dice             T-114 Wonder Window       T-141 Mini-Zag
T-73 Coin in Nest           T-115 Ultra Slice         T-142 Lancelot
T-74 Super Phanto Block     T-116 Infinitum           T-143 Hyper Vision
T-84 Card Frame             T-117 The Alpha Tunnel    T-145 Moon Spinner
T-85 Guillotine See Through T-119 Thunderstaff        T-146 Clean Cut
T-86 Ultra Tube             T-120 Telestar            T-147 Silver Express
T-91 Floating Lady          T-121 The Golden Fleece   T-148 Mira-Metal
T-92 Pendant                T-122 Excalibur           T-149 Dragon Altar
T-97 Superstick             T-123 Billscape           T-150 Coin of Dracula
T-99 Mystery of High Hat    T-124 Mirror Mate         T-151 Wild Wallet
T-102 Lucifer's Lock        T-125 Ghost Writer        T-152 Nostradamus Clock
T-103 Frame of Destruction  T-126 Match-Sticks        T-153 Diabolicus
T-104 Black Hole            T-127 Telesphere          T-154 Mindscanner
T-105 Tunnel of Darkness    T-129 Mirage              T-155 Crystal Cleaver
T-106 Ribbon Forever        T-130 Tricky Business     T-156 The Haunting
T-107 Crossroad             T-131 Moons of Jupiter    T-157 Illusionarium
T-108 Soft Coins            T-134 Vault-Vision        T-158 Mentalmarvel
T-109 The Midas Machine     T-135 Space Towers        T-159 Twister
T-110 Zig Zag Cig           T-136 Geometrick          T-160 Fantastica
T-111 Supercubio            T-137 Bolted!             T-161 Parabox
T-112 Eclipse               T-139 Knife of the Ninja  T-162 Credit Slasher

Cello Bag w. Aqua Card (9)
Tenyo only used this type of packaging for English packaged tricks. The aqua card folds like a book and has the instructions inside. The aqua card has a die-cut window where the name of the trick shows through from the instructions. Behind the card is a b&w sheet containing a description with accompanying illustrations. All the aqua cards are identical with metallic silver embossed magic icons around the edges of the front and the Tenyo logo on the bottom middle. With this packaging type you can never be sure that the trick has never been used. There back of the cello bag is taped but this can be redone.

T-163 Burglar Ball        T-166 Oh No!             T-170 The Pillars of Thor
T-164 Metal Matrimony     T-167 Future Clock       T-171 Merlin's Coffer
T-165 Crystal Pyramid     T-169 Zone Infinity      T-172 Invisible Zone

Plastic Box w. Color Card (17)
After the Cello Bag w. Aqua Card Tenyo used this Plastic Box w. Color Card solution which was not a good one. The boxes get dented and scuffed easily and once again you can never be sure if the item in this kind of package is new. A good point is that you can play with these without ruining the package. Other tricks were released (T-112 Eclipse, T-172 Invisible Zone) in this type of packaging but they are not listed below because they were not the original package that the trick was released in.

T-175 Unusual Suspects    T-181 Bird Watcher       T-187 Mini-Morphosis
T-176 Hanky Penetration   T-182 Funnel Vision      T-188 Lucky Rabbit
T-177 Phantoma            T-183 Impossible Pen     T-189 Money Shredder
T-178 Krazy Keys          T-184 Pop-Up Card        T-190 Bio Shock
T-179 Trisector           T-185 Puzzling Queen     T-191 The Cutting Edge
T-180 Enchanted Strings   T-186 Antigravity Rock

Zip Lock w. Colored Card (4)
Tenyo only used this type of packaging for the 4 Professional Line tricks release in 1999.

T-192 Leather Wild Wallet
T-193 Magic Painting
T-194 Mind Spinner
T-195 Grand Derby Prediction

Modern Blister on Card (28)
This type of packaging was used a lot and some great modern tricks came in these packages. A good point about these packages is that you can open them carefully by making some razor cuts in the front/bottom part of the package and sliding out the plastic part of the packaging.

T-200 Undercover Cube      T-210 Mobile Illusion       T-230 Mystic Scope
T-201 Mystery China Box    T-211 Fadeaway Case         T-231 Fortune Donut
T-202 Prison Box           T-215 Magician's Matchbox   T-240 Shrinking Pen
T-203 Salt Cups            T-216 Mystery Poodle        T-241 Illusion Truck
T-204 Escape King          T-221 Mystery Triangle      T-242 China Surprise
T-205 Confined Cubes       T-222 Fortune Sticks        T-246 Trap Box
T-206 Sun & Moon Tubes     T-223 Origami Tube          T-247 Tower of Dice
T-207 Magician's Finger    T-224 Credit Surprise       Japanese from here on
T-208 Money Splash         T-225 Mystic Blackboard     T-252 Clear Surprise
T-209 Ghost Pet            T-226 President's Cabinet 

World’s Greatest Magic Box (14)
World’s Greatest Magic is a line of tricks that Tenyo did not invent but they liked and wanted to sell. Some of these are great tricks but unfortunately they mark the point where the great imagination and creativity from the Tenyo creative team started to wane.

T-212 Ballerina Hank         T-228 4-Dimensional Trunk  Japanese from here on
T-213 Animation Card         T-234 Newsworthy Tear      T-250 The Third Eye
T-214 Ultimate Shocking Pen  T-238 Floating Card        T-254 Magic Memo Pad
T-220 Crash Dice             T-243 4-D Surprise         T-255 Card Surgery
T-227 New Koornwinder Kar    T-245 Ghost Lamp           T-258 Ghost Card  

World’s Greatest Magic Blister on Card (3)
World’s Greatest Magic is a line of tricks that Tenyo did not invent but they liked and wanted to sell. Some of these are great tricks but unfortunately they mark the point where the great imagination and creativity from the Tenyo creative team started to wane.

T-217 Super Sponge Balls
T-218 The Rising Cards
T-229 Ultimate Spoon Bend

Modern English Box (14)
This type of package is very similar to what Tenyo was using for Japanese packaged releases especially during the years of the Cello Bag w. Aqua Card and Plastic Box w. Colored Card packages.

T-196 Money Cutter          T-235 Magical Door      Japanese from here on
T-197 X-Ray File            T-236 Vanishing Point       T-248 Psychic Money    
T-198 Blue Crystal          T-237 Synchro Boxes         T-249 Magic Pop-Up
T-199 Dynamite Tube         T-239 Millionaire's Dream   T-253 Miracle Coin Thru    
T-232 Balloon Illusion      T-244 Cloud Money           T-256 4D Printer
T-233 Animation Frame                                   T-257 Magical MRI
                                                        T-259 Money Shock

Uniquely Packaged Tenyo (15)
There is no similarity to these packages other than the fact that they do not fit into any other category.

T-34 Against Gravity      T-94 Nightmare in Color    T-144 Arcane
T-61 I'm a Magician       T-78 Sponge Rabbit         T-128 Paradox
T-67 Colour Fantasy       T-96 Wandering Hole        T-174 Clyde
T-75 Rabbit in Wallet     T-118 Sidetrack             T-219 Image Generator
T-93 Card Changer         T-138 The Devil's Disk      T-251 Flying Carpet

Blue Box (2)
Only two T-Numbered tricks were sold in this box, but the same box was used to sell professional magic items in Japan. Once again you can never be sure if your trick is truly new as the trick can be removed and used without any indication.

T-168 Floral Fantasy
T-173 Eye of the Idol

Brown Box (2)
Only two T-Numbered tricks were sold in this box, but the same box was used to sell professional magic items in Japan. Once again you can never be sure if your trick is truly new as the trick can be removed and used without any indication.

T-81 Space Walking Coin
T-82 Spinning Plate On Rope

Transparent Blue Bag (2)
Only two T-Numbered rope tricks were sold in this package. These tricks, in their blue bags were placed into Brown Boxes for sale in Japan.

T-094 Nightmare in Color
T-101 Hungarian Linking Ropes

Unknown (5)
These 6 tricks are very interesting because it is hard to determine how these tricks were packaged as they hardly exist either in a tangible form or in a photograph.

T-044 Coin Coaster
T-45 Break-Away Fan
T-70 Chinese Linking Rings
T-89 Spring Flower
T-83 Super Sponge Ball

Glue Failure with Vintage Blister on Card Packages

For a large portion of the Vintage Blister on Card package the glue failed and the package opens like a book. It is not known why Tenyo had this problem with their packages. What is most interesting is that this happened over many years (1976-1982). Many of these packages were stapled closed at the distributor or dealer which was the least destructive. Sometime the packages were re-glued using a popular thick brown glue of the time. Below is a list of tricks that you can expect to be “Un-Glued”

T-74 Super Phanto Block       T-102 Lucifer's Lock          T-109 The Midas Machine                 
T-85 Guillotine See Through   T-103 Frame of Destruction    T-111 Supercubio
T-86 Ultra Tube*              T-104 Black Hole*             T-112 Eclipse°
T-91 Floating Lady*           T-105 Tunnel of Darkness      T-113 Quick Silver
T-92 Pendant                  T-106 Ribbon Forever          T-114 Wonder Window
T-97 Superstick               T-107 Crossroad               T-115 Ultra Slice°
T-99 Mystery of High Hat 
*These tricks are sometimes found in glued packages but I am pretty sure they were glued at the distributor or the magic shop. If they are ones that were glued at the distributor or magic shop then the package should be almost perfect.
°These tricks are more often found in glued packages than unglued packages, but I am pretty sure they were glued at the distributor or magic shop.

For the tricks below the Vintage Blister on Card package is usually not un-glued even though they were released during the years of the glue failure. That is because there were batches of these tricks re-made years later after the glue problem was solved.

T-72 Flash Dice
T-73 Coin in Nest
T-84 Card Frame
T-108 Soft Coins
T-110 Zig Zag Cig

Bulk Packaging of Tenyo Tricks

A few years ago it was more prevalent to see Tenyo magic tricks being sold in unmarked, clear heat-sealed bags with photocopied instructions. I think that someone, probably from Europe, got their hands on bulk genuine Tenyo magic tricks and quickly bagged them for resale. You should be able to purchase these at a lower price than a packaged trick and you get the benefit of knowing that it is truly new and never used. The short list below are tricks that I have bought in this style of packaging. There may be other tricks packaged in this manner as well. The Tenyo tricks destined for the un-released Doug Henning Magic Sets were packaged in this manner as well and those tricks will be addressed in another article.

T-116 Infinitum
T-117 The Alpha Tunnel
T-140 Superspike
T-145 Moon Spinner
T-149 Dragon Altar