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.There were leather wrapped versions, plain brass ones, and special models made on the day Zippo crafted its 500 millionth lighter (June 5, 2012). Kelvinator received white Zippo lighters that looked like miniature refrigerators.Kennecott Utah Copper received the only Zippo lighters crafted from copper; Alcoa received the only ones made from aluminum.Yet, here we are, some 83 years later, and the Zippo brand continues to thrive. Well, there are a number of reasons—a determined founder, some clever ad placements, war—but one that shouldn’t be overlooked is collectibility, which is something Zippo has catered to—both knowingly and unknowingly—since its earliest days.About 30% of Zippo’s sales are to collectors, according to Patrick Grandy, the company’s Corporate Media and Communications Manager.
The code, which is stamped on the bottom of every Zippo, displays the year and the month the lighter was made.
While the marks have changed over time, the system makes dating a Zippo very easy.
Think you found one from the mid-1900s at the flea market? With the date code in place, collecting old Zippos is as easy as collecting old coins.
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.
Finally, having ensured minimal repeat business, go ahead and launch your company in the middle of The Great Depression.