The Zippo lighter, which is available in 90 countries, has been sold in America since 1933. Zippo lighters are considered to be the best lighters available and an American classic. Collecting Zippo lighters has long been a popular hobby for smokers and nonsmokers alike. Not all Zippos are worth a lot of money, but some Zippos command a good price among avid collectors. Learning how to put a monetary value to your Zippo isn't difficult and can help you identify valuable collector Zippo lighters to add to your collection.
Familiarise yourself with the Zippo models that hold the most value. Some of these models include the sought-after 1933 model with an outside hinge, the leather-covered 1950s model and a 1943 model with black crackle paint. An identification book can help you learn more about these models. There are also many Zippo collector clubs you can join.
Examine your Zippo lighter carefully. Identify the shape it's in. Like coin collecting, Zippos are more valuable if they aren't scuffed up or the paint isn't chipped. Look for other identifying features that will help you determine value. Some of these features include the date a Zippo was made and whether it was hand-painted. In the case of Zippos, older is always worth more money. Because the positioning of manufacture dates and serial numbers vary so widely, consult a Zippo Lighter dating code chart for your lighter.
Pay particular attention to Zippos made before 1953. These Zippos are harder to date but worth the most to collectors. Dating these Zippos require attention to details such as number of barrels, number of teeth on the flint, the type of metal (whether the lighter is brass or steel) and case markings.
Refer to a printed or online Zippo price guide once you've gathered all of the relevant information about the lighter you want information about. Lighter values fluctuate, so purchase the latest copy of the price guide, which you often can find in the library. Online price guides are typically the most up to date.
Consider purchasing a copy of "Zippo Lighters: Identification and Price Guide." The book is written by Kristian Pope and published by Krause. It's a handy guide to identifying and finding the value of various Zippos.