Tobacco Collectibles: Cigarette Lighters
Last Updated on 4/17/2020 by bidz
In the past, lighters were available everywhere from dime stores to fine jewelry stores in various shapes and sizes and finishes that included gold, leather, patterned china and enameled surfaces.
Modern lighters were made possible by the patenting of Ferrocerium in 1903 by Carl Auer von Welsbach. These lighters were called flint lighters using flint as their catalyst and naptha as their fuel. Butane lighters began appearing after World War II, largely replacing flint lighters. They utilized compressed butane instead of lighter fluid or naptha, and users were easily able to control the flame, with the added benefit that the resulting odor was less and the wick did not require any replacement.
Ronson released the Pist-O-Liter in 1910 and 1913 marked the company development of it’s first lighter, the “Wonderlite”, which was a permanent match style of lighter.
George G. Blaisdell founded the Zippo company in 1932 after seeing a friend using an Austrian product to light his cigarette. Blaisdell acquired the American distribution rights and redesigned it above a garage in Bradford, Pennsylvania in late 1932. Manufacturing of the first Zippo lighter began in 1933.
According to Andrew Turner, writing for AuctionBytes, “The most sought after are the early models with the metallique advertising designs. Town & Country and leather wrap models are quite desirable as well. Mint condition and/or in the original boxes increases value greatly.”
As of this post date, looking back at the past 14 days of sales in the Collectibles > Tobacciana > Lighters category the most popular listed branded lighters are Zippos, followed by Ronson, Colibri, Camel, Dupont, Scripto, Dunhill and Evans respectively. The highest prices paid were for a Dunhill 18k clock lighter which sold for $3,850.00, a 1950’s Dunhill Aquarium Perspex / Lucite Table Lighter which sold for $2,135.00 and a LE 1993 St Dupont Art Nouveau Ligne Line 2 lighter which sold for $1,495.95.
The sell-through rate in the Zippo category was 63.1% with an average selling price of $21.30. The highest priced selling items were a Marlboro Bull Longhorn Brass Brushed Zippo Lighter which sold for $860.00, a Leather Crafted Brown Reptile Vintage Zippo Lighter NIB which sold for $810.20 and a 1930’s Zippo National Electronics lighter which sold for $674.99.