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Lighters are one part of the broad field of smoking or tobacco-related collectibles which include such items as pipes, cigar bands, cigar cutters, ashtrays, cigarette cases, packs, boxes and holders, match covers, advertising materials and more.  Given the current trend towards more stringent legislation on the tobacco industry, there would seem to be a lot of potential for price increases in the future.

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 Lighters
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.

Zippo lighter

Photo by ume-y

Zippo Lighters
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.”

On eBay
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.

Zippo Resources:
Zippo Click – The collectors club for the worldwide clique of Zippo lighter enthusiasts.
iCollectZippo – The Zippo Lighter Price Guide

Some current live auctions on eBay in the Zippo lighter category:

$76.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Friday Mar-29-2019 16:28:12 PDT
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Posted: March 24, 2019, 11:28 pm
$75.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Monday Apr-1-2019 13:04:16 PDT
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Posted: March 22, 2019, 8:04 pm

$1,149.49 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Mar-31-2019 18:45:24 PDT
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Posted: March 25, 2019, 1:45 am
$1,099.84
End Date: Sunday Mar-31-2019 15:22:08 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $1,099.84
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Posted: March 24, 2019, 10:22 pm
$999.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Friday Mar-29-2019 22:55:01 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $1,299.99
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Posted: March 23, 2019, 5:55 am
$1,395.99
End Date: Sunday Apr-21-2019 22:00:39 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $1,395.99
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Posted: March 23, 2019, 5:00 am
$1,211.99
End Date: Sunday Apr-21-2019 22:00:38 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $1,211.99
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Posted: March 23, 2019, 5:00 am
$982.99
End Date: Sunday Apr-21-2019 22:00:37 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $982.99
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Posted: March 23, 2019, 5:00 am
$2,733.00
End Date: Sunday Apr-21-2019 16:01:45 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $2,733.00
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Posted: March 22, 2019, 11:01 pm
$1,036.00
End Date: Sunday Apr-21-2019 9:44:54 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $1,036.00
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Posted: March 22, 2019, 4:45 pm
$1,036.00
End Date: Sunday Apr-21-2019 9:45:10 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $1,036.00
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Posted: March 22, 2019, 4:45 pm
$922.00
End Date: Sunday Apr-21-2019 0:55:42 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $922.00
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Posted: March 22, 2019, 7:55 am
$1,123.70
End Date: Sunday Apr-21-2019 0:40:20 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $1,123.70
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Posted: March 22, 2019, 7:40 am
$1,500.00
End Date: Sunday Apr-21-2019 0:27:45 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $1,500.00
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Posted: March 22, 2019, 7:27 am
$1,111.00
End Date: Saturday Apr-20-2019 16:01:44 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $1,111.00
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Posted: March 21, 2019, 11:01 pm
$931.00
End Date: Saturday Apr-20-2019 16:01:21 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $931.00
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Posted: March 21, 2019, 11:01 pm
$931.00
End Date: Saturday Apr-20-2019 16:01:20 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $931.00
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Posted: March 21, 2019, 11:01 pm

Some current live auctions on eBay in the Ronson lighter category:

$247.00
End Date: Tuesday Apr-23-2019 13:59:43 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $247.00
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Posted: March 24, 2019, 8:59 pm
$1,255.90
End Date: Tuesday Apr-23-2019 13:29:29 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $1,255.90
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Posted: March 24, 2019, 8:29 pm
$365.00
End Date: Tuesday Apr-23-2019 11:39:16 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $365.00
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Posted: March 24, 2019, 6:39 pm
$84.61
End Date: Tuesday Apr-23-2019 8:31:24 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $84.61
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Posted: March 24, 2019, 3:31 pm
$155.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Mar-31-2019 4:22:13 PDT
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Posted: March 24, 2019, 11:22 am
$750.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Friday Mar-29-2019 4:11:45 PDT
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Posted: March 24, 2019, 11:11 am
$449.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Mar-30-2019 12:06:09 PDT
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Posted: March 24, 2019, 7:06 am
$135.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Mar-30-2019 17:24:42 PDT
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Posted: March 24, 2019, 12:24 am
$189.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Mar-30-2019 16:29:39 PDT
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Posted: March 23, 2019, 11:29 pm
$195.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Mar-30-2019 3:57:44 PDT
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Posted: March 23, 2019, 10:57 am
$149.95 (0 Bids)
End Date: Wednesday Mar-27-2019 16:03:13 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $194.95
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Posted: March 22, 2019, 11:03 pm
$129.35 (11 Bids)
End Date: Monday Apr-1-2019 13:18:26 PDT
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Posted: March 22, 2019, 8:18 pm
$179.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Mar-28-2019 21:25:29 PDT
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Posted: March 22, 2019, 4:25 am
$249.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Mar-28-2019 17:59:43 PDT
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Posted: March 22, 2019, 12:59 am
$165.00
End Date: Saturday Apr-20-2019 17:04:24 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $165.00
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Posted: March 22, 2019, 12:04 am

Some current live auctions on eBay in the Colibri lighter category:

$49.95 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Mar-31-2019 14:33:25 PDT
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Posted: March 24, 2019, 9:33 pm
$37.50 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Mar-31-2019 8:44:40 PDT
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Posted: March 24, 2019, 3:44 pm
$200.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Mar-30-2019 11:05:14 PDT
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Posted: March 23, 2019, 6:05 pm
$29.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Mar-31-2019 13:36:43 PDT
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Posted: March 21, 2019, 8:36 pm
$59.99 (1 Bid)
End Date: Thursday Mar-28-2019 13:10:09 PDT
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Posted: March 21, 2019, 8:10 pm
$40.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Mar-28-2019 13:05:41 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $65.00
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Posted: March 21, 2019, 8:05 pm
$44.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Monday Mar-25-2019 9:04:34 PDT
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Posted: March 20, 2019, 4:04 pm
$99.50 (0 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Mar-26-2019 23:04:03 PDT
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Posted: March 17, 2019, 6:04 am
$29.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Monday Mar-25-2019 10:17:26 PDT
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Posted: March 15, 2019, 5:17 pm

Some current live auctions on eBay in the Dunhill lighter category:

$69.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Mar-31-2019 21:08:33 PDT
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Posted: March 25, 2019, 4:08 am
$148.50 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Mar-31-2019 20:00:10 PDT
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Posted: March 25, 2019, 3:00 am
$499.95 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Mar-31-2019 19:25:10 PDT
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Posted: March 25, 2019, 2:25 am
$49.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Mar-31-2019 18:32:04 PDT
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Posted: March 25, 2019, 1:32 am
$150.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Mar-31-2019 17:51:43 PDT
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Posted: March 25, 2019, 12:51 am
$50.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Wednesday Apr-3-2019 16:45:04 PDT
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Posted: March 24, 2019, 11:45 pm
$249.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Wednesday Apr-3-2019 15:49:05 PDT
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Posted: March 24, 2019, 10:49 pm
$49.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Mar-31-2019 15:39:23 PDT
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Posted: March 24, 2019, 10:39 pm
$49.99 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Mar-31-2019 14:48:48 PDT
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Posted: March 24, 2019, 9:48 pm
$100.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Mar-31-2019 7:23:57 PDT
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Posted: March 24, 2019, 2:23 pm
$100.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Mar-31-2019 7:20:16 PDT
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Posted: March 24, 2019, 2:20 pm
$100.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Mar-31-2019 7:09:05 PDT
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Posted: March 24, 2019, 2:09 pm
$84.95 (0 Bids)
End Date: Friday Mar-29-2019 4:22:35 PDT
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Posted: March 24, 2019, 11:22 am
$80.00 (17 Bids)
End Date: Thursday Mar-28-2019 20:25:36 PDT
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Posted: March 24, 2019, 3:25 am
$1,700.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Mar-30-2019 17:28:05 PDT
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Posted: March 24, 2019, 12:28 am