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It's Time to Retire the Lighter Collection | Kevin Rye.net - Main

Kevin Rye

Geek Extraordinaire. Yeh, I said it.

It's Time to Retire the Lighter Collection

I started collecting Zippo lighters in 1993. Here you see the collection in its heyday when I still lived with my parents. You can’t exactly have all that stuff set up when you have a wife and 3 kids. Who has the space? I consider myself lucky I still have a computer room.

I scored the display cases from various pharmacies going out of business. Some dumpster diving paid off too.


I had hundreds of Zippos. Hundreds! The average Zippo goes for a good $25 bucks. Most of those Zippos, not to mention the limited editions and boxed sets, went for more than that. So you do the math. It was a pretty valuable collection.


My fanaticism with Zippos soon stemmed to vintage lighters of all shapes and sizes.


Followed by disposables; branded with the names and places of wherever I’d go, as well as ones that friends and family members brought back as souvenirs. The last time I counted, I had a good 800 lighters.


I think this picture was taken in 1998, when my collection was well in its infancy.


In 2006 when I wanted to buy a brand new 17” MacBook Pro, I needed a cool $2800 bucks. I eBay’d a ton of stuff. A lot of the pricey lighters were the first things to go.

Then again in 2008, I wanted a brand new 8-core Mac Pro at $3000 bucks. I sold more lighters and Zippos, as well as some coins and paper money from that collection.

It’s been a good 10 years or more since I bought a Zippo. I’m just not into it any more. It’s all packed up in boxes, and has been for the past 12 years. Quite frankly, I’m tired of lugging it from house to house.

I’d rather spend my hobby money on electronics, coins, and vintage Apple gear.

Then there’s this:

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 7.00.29 PM

Apple’s releasing a new Mac Pro this fall. My 2008 Mac Pro is growing a little long in the tooth. Something tells me I’m going to need a few grand come this fall.

With that, it’s time to officially retire the lighter collection. I’m going to eBay the lot of it.

I’ve sold a ton of it over the years... so what exactly’s left? I laid it out and took a few pictures. These are all the lighters that aren’t Zippos:


I don’t know what I’m going to do with the disposables. I checked with FedEx, UPS, and the Post Office and they’re all going to give me a hard time about sending them in the mail. They pretty much said “don’t”. I thought about draining them all of fluid and sending them empty, but it’s probably not even worth it. I don’t know what the going rate is of a random Scripto from 1996, but I’d image it’s next to squat. I might cherry pick the collectable ones (Camel, Marlboro, etc.) and just toss the rest. I might also try my luck with a “local pickup only” style auction.

I also have some other nifty stuff that might fetch a fair price: old lighter fluid cans...


… as well as signs and printed material. There’s no shortage of it.



Like I said, I’ve sold a ton of Zippos over the years in order to fund various other high-ticket items. So I “only” have about 130 Zippos left.


At $25 bucks a pop, that’s at least $3,250 dollars worth of Zippos. I can guarantee a ton of them cost well over $25 each.

I might cherry pick the gems and sell them individually, and sell the rest as a lot. I’ll see. One thing’s for sure, the new Mac Pro will be mine!