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Vintage Military Zippo Lighters

In Tobacciana > Zippo Lighters > Show & Tell and Military and Wartime > Vietnam War > Show & Tell.
Zippo Lighters60 of 82FOR MANI, WITH LOVE, MIKIE1960 Midwest Speedways, Inc. Vintage Zippo
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    Posted 8 years ago

    (49 items)

    I posted these lighters before last year when I was listing items under another handle (long story there). Anyway, here they are again.

    I bought my first Zippo (left & middle photo) at the Base Exchange at Phan Rang Air Base in Vietnam in the summer of 1967. It was engraved for me by a local Vietnamese sidewalk vendor in the village of Top Chon. A buddy of mine in the welding shop soldered the Philippine 50 centavo piece onto the reverse side for me. I carried it and used it every day until the hinge started to get sloppy. Zippo fixed that for me, free of charge, and they gave me a new insert which was never used. They also returned the original insert.

    The second Zippo (right hand photo) I bought in 1973 when I was stationed at a remote radar site located in Kotzebue, Alaska, up on the Arctic Circle. This one also received heavy use; you can see that all the paint has worn off of the Squadron Emblem. This unit still has the original insert. It would likely work with a new flint, but I have not smoked in many years.

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    1. WinterWolf WinterWolf, 8 years ago
      Thank you for the acknowledgement. It was my honor to serve, both in Vietnam and for 20 yrs. in the USAF.

      The rest of the "fear no evil" phrase that I used to see was "..... for I am the meanest S.O.B. in the valley" - not abbreviated, of course LOL
    2. kerry10456 kerry10456, 8 years ago
      Thank You for your service and let me add "Welcome Home". I sure you didn't get that, back then. :-)
    3. WinterWolf WinterWolf, 8 years ago
      Thanks Kerry -- I appreciate that
    4. Manikin Manikin, 8 years ago
      Welcome home soldier ! Maybe our paths crossed during Nam if you were ever injured . Love all my nam guys that I took care of as a Nurse ! Glad you made it back and Thank you for serving the country .
    5. WinterWolf WinterWolf, 8 years ago
      Manikin / AR8Jason -- Thanks for the belated welcome. My tour was July '67 to Feb '69 so it's been a while. Manikin, I was one of the lucky ones; never had an injury, never even slammed my finger in the door or got a splinter. Every time we had a rocket/mortar attack at the barracks area I was working on the flight line & vice versa. Had a fly crawl in my ear once though - about drove me nuts for a while LOL.
    6. scottvez scottvez, 8 years ago
      Nice to see a real one-- so many fakes of these out there!

      When you have time, I'd write down the particulars on it and keep them together (unless you still use it).

    7. Manikin Manikin, 8 years ago
      So glad you came out with no injuries and a fly or insect in ear is common and can make you half crazy till we get it out . But at least that is a quick fix :-) I guess you didn't need me and that is good .
    8. WinterWolf WinterWolf, 6 years ago
      UPDATE: Oct 2013. In a weak moment and more out of curiosity, I listed both of these Zippos on Ebay with an $80 reserve price. I was not prepared for the onslaught of interest. I had collectors from all over begging me to terminate the auction and sell to THEM at a fixed price. I held firm. The final bid was for a completely ridiculous amount of money that came in at literally the last two seconds of the auction. The successful bidder was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Swiss Army, if you can believe it. So, these two items are now in Switzerland, but as the original owner I reserve the right to keep this listing & photos here on CW. Thanks for understanding
    9. Harborguy Harborguy, 6 years ago
      Wolf, I had the same Ebay experience when I listed my Marine Corps utility cap even with it's sweat band! I guess the story attached to such items demands a premium.
      USMC '67-'69
    10. WinterWolf WinterWolf, 6 years ago
      Harborguy - Yes the successful bidder wrote to me and asked me more details both about the lighter and myself. He asked me to share all the details that I could remember about my service, dates, units of assignment, and the nature of the work I did. He then matched my photo and detailed biography with the photos of the lighters and posted them on a website that he has expressly for that purpose, both in English and German. I didn't keep the link to those sites though.
    11. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
      Great story-- the documentation adds considerably to the value of most militaria.

      Unfortunately, there are a lot of crooks and shysters out there creating stories to enhance relics. A lot of fake "captured German WW2" items used to walk into gun shows with a "veteran" with a great story.

      I regularly see Civil War items (esp. Confederate) selling on ebay with bogus letters of provenance.

      Just a word of warning-- thoroughly check out the story BEFORE paying a premium. Some dealers have become so skeptical of "seller stories" that "buy the relic, NOT the story" has become a common recommendation.

      IN NO WAY AM I DOUBTING YOUR LIGHTERS WOLF-- just warning folks about what is common in the market.

    12. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 6 years ago
      When I was stationed in Korea, there was an "antique" shop that always had about a dozen of these Vietnam inscribed Zippos. Having that many all the time was a big red flag. He also had a bunch of larger brass antique items and early one morning while walking past the place on my way to work, I caught him with the brass stuff outside the back of his shop, spraying them down with a hose - I assume to help them acquire a patina as they dried in the morning sun.

      I assume that lots of stuff from there ends up here.

      And I don't doubt your lighters are authentic either Wolf.

    13. lzenglish, 3 years ago
      Great Post, Thanks for the memories!
    14. lzenglish, 3 years ago
      PS: As long as Im here, did you make it to Phu-Cat afb?

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