Over the years Zippo lighter have attained value as collectibles. Age and style are important factors that determine value of a Zippo lighter. Date codes on the bottom of each Zippo lighter have become an invaluable tool for collectors. Stamped codes signify the exact date when the lighter was produced.
Styles of the Lighters
Zippo lighters are identified as pocket lighters, regular, slim or a table lighter according to their style. Such lighters have also decorative elements that distinguish them into different groups. For example, diagonal cuts are a popular styling for Zippo Lighters; Town & Country Zippo lighters often feature deer, wild birds and pictures characteristic of the American West; many lighters are decorated with metallic low relief and depict Harley-Davidson logos, cross and crown symbols,and other signs.
Starting from the middle of 1950s, date codes were stamped on the bottom of each Zippo lighter, primarily for quality control. These stamps have experienced a few changes over the years. From 1933 to the mid '50s it was stamped in block letters. The first logo to look similar to modern Zippo logo was being developed in the late 1940s and first used in 1955. In the late '70s designers of Zippo lighters made another change in the logo style leading to the modern stamp.
As it happens with most collectibles, the date when a Zippo lighter was produced always has strong effect on its value. George G. Blaisdell, a founder of Zippo company, offered a lifetime guarantee on his lighters. The bottom of Zippo lighters made since the mid-1950s was encoded with a series of markings to identify which run of lighters needed repairs. Such marking has become a quality control tool for its founders. At the same time it developed a culture of Zippo followers, who find the lighters' age an important criteria. Over the years Zippo's date code formats have changed several times.
The first Zippo lighters were square shaped and formed from rectangular brass tubing. The top and bottom pieces were soldered to the hollow tubing to form the lid and bottom of the case. Slim Zippo lighters were introduced in 1956 with no date codes or other marks on them. Such lighters are the same height as regular lighters but slimmer in width. In 1957, one year after the first production of Zippo slim lighters, the first date markings on the slim lighters appeared. Slim lighters markings were the same as for regular size lighters starting in 1966.