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Zippo Lighters - Collecting an American Icon

By Ross Bassette

You do not have to be a smoker to be a collector of Zippo Lighters. The zippos reason for being goes well beyond being used as a cigarette lighter. This lighter is a piece of classic American workmanship that has proved itself as being an ideal object to collect, to use and to be seen with. Zippo Windproof Lighters, first manufactured in the early 1930s, now represent one of the fastest growing categories in the world of collectibles. They have become an American icon. They are James Dean cool, Corvette sleek, and as American as apple pie. Historical, dependable and highly collectible, These icons are bought and by thousands of enthusiastic fans from all over the world.

A Lighter For The Working Class
Back in 1932, George G. Blaisdell, of Bradford, PA, saw a friend fumble with an Austrian made lighter. The lighter was difficult to operate because it required two hands to operate. In addition, the lighter dented, easily. George set his mind to work and created a lighter very similar to those we use today. He called the lighter a Zippo because the name sounded modern.

In 1933, Mr. Blaisdell began to manufacture his new lighter. Friends scoffed at his idea as being impractical given the economy in the middle of the great depression. However, the lighter, priced at $1.95, was offered with an unconditional lifetime guarantee and proved to be a hit .

There's a Zippo Lighter For Everyone
Today These lighters come in designs which appeal to nearly everyone. From soldiers to business executives to biker girls, there is a Zippo made that will complete an image, a wardrobe or a genuine need. Common designs popular with collectors include Japanese, Joe Camel, Viet Nam, and Vintage Zippo lighters from the World War II era. Lighters are available in all conditions and price ranges. Just remember a sealed, unused lighter loses value once used.

Lighter collecting can provide years of satisfaction for collectors interested in a genuine American icon like that created by George Blaisdell. To start your collection, you can find great deals on both new and used Zippos on eBay where new lighters can be found for less than $10.

Ross Bassette is an experienced eBay merchant and an avid collector of Joe Camel Zippo Lighters and memorabilia. If you enjoyed reading this article, please feel free to visit our website and search for that favorite Collectible Zippo Lighter. Zippo Lighter Auctions

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