In my early days of lighter collecting I never bought a single Zippo, although I ran into them everywhere here in Pennsylvania. This all changed when I met a Zippo collector at one of my very first shows that has since become a very good friend. He talked me into buying Zippos to sell and trade. That advice has made my collection what it is today.
My collection would be nowhere near what it is without the profits and trades that I made from Zippo lighters. Over the years I have become very fond of Zippos and I would own many more if I could afford them.
As you can see from the following pictures I have a small collection, primarily of the 1990's pinup lighters. My favorites are the Benard of Hollywood Marilyn Monroe Zippos. These lighters never made it into production because of copyright problems with a third party.
The first set pictured was done with a set of dye sublimation pictures. To my knowledge, these are the only Zippo lighters ever made with an actual picture applied to the lighter. I was told by a Zippo employee that there were only 50 of these sets made for salesmen samples. The other sets and single lighters were all done with the silkscreen paint process.
These lighters are all prototypes. I have only ever seen three sets of the silkscreen process and I have owned all three. I sold one set to afford another lighter for my collection. I bought most of the Monroe Zippos in my collection at the National Zippo Day shows in Bradford, PA.
Since they never made it into production these Zippo lighters are extremely rare. I have seen a few of the dye sublimation sets and single silkscreen lighters show up on Ebay over the years.
The Gil Elvgren 21st Century Archive Zippos are also pretty rare. There were only 75 of each made and the company was put out of business because of copyright infringement.
Most of these lighters were sold at fleamarkets and collector card trade shows. They were sold as individual lighters with the Flying High lighter selling out first, making the set of six very hard to find.
My biggest regret with Zippo lighters is that I had an excellent 1933 and I sold it. I made quite a profit, but if I had a chance to do it over the lighter would still be in my collection.