Dating vintage zippo lighters

In 1952, GE received Zippo lighters that looked like Ultra-Vision televisions, which some customers received when they bought the TV set.

These high-ticket orders produced some of the most desirable lighters the company ever made.

First, sell an item only a portion of the population needs.

Second, slap a lifetime guarantee on it—not the customer’s lifetime, mind you, the lifetime of the product itself (aka forever).

With Black Crackle in mind, Zippo would go on to do other extremely limited editions of their standard pocket lighter, each helping cement a loyal following of collectors.

There was a Zippo made for every Mercury and Apollo mission.

There was the highly collectible Town & Country series produced between 19.

There was the Desert Camo model made for both Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield. When a company with some serious money to spend approached Zippo about a custom lighter, Zippo would do more than simply slap the company’s logo on the front of one.

Then there were the ones that never left the factory at all but could have slipped out in the pocket of an employee—a Zippo with two wheels, a combo cigar lighter and hand warmer, and many others.But that’s a figure that doesn’t happen overnight—hell, it took Ty years before people camped outside of Hallmark stores for Beanie Babies—and Zippo’s story of collectibility really begins in 1939, almost a decade after the company was founded.Some of these are destined to become collectibles, while the others will sell to their respective audiences.The company even takes one day out of the year to produce a few 18K gold versions, which are hand polished and cost over ,000 each.

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