Shared Interest And Camaraderie Result In Priceless Additions To My Vintage Cigarette Lighter Collection

While my number one goal when entering the hobby was to make money from buying, repairing and selling old petrol lighters, that doesn’t mean I did so in a heartless manner. I can’t recall every instance that I have simply given away parts that I wasn’t in dire need of at the moment so someone else could repair their lighter nor do I remember every lighter that I have given away because someone contacted me privately about their personal connection to the ship portrayed on a particular Zippo or company advertised on a Bowers Storm Master. What I didn’t foresee, though, was how the kindness of others would abound toward me as shared interest and camaraderie result in priceless additions to my vintage cigarette lighter collection.

“JDH” Initial Engraved Zippo-Gavin Lannan

The first lighter I remember receiving as a gift from someone I met in the hobby was a 1995 Brushed Chrome Zippo with the initials “JDH” arranged in a stair-step pattern which arrived in the mail in the fall of 2021. My buddy Gavin Lannan and I were communicating via email when he informed me that he had a lighter setting there next to him which he’d been wondering what to do with that must belong to me as it contained the initials of my full name.

This was a used lighter that Gavin had acquired at some point in time and sent to the Zippo Repair Clinic to have its hinge repaired. I had no affinity
for repaired Zippos prior to receiving this gift from Gavin but the company did such a fine job on the hinge repair that it inspired me to send other lighters into the clinic as the worn feel and flawless function of the lighter instantly made it one of my favorites.

Apparently, Gavin was unsure what to do with the lighter until he happened upon my full legal name one day and surmised that this little gem of a Zippo must be returned to me, its rightful owner. This wasn’t Gavin’s last gift to me or the channel and I am appreciative of all he has done in support of the mission we aim to carry out here at

Marijuana Themed Custom Zippo-Zippo Fanatic 77

The YouTube lighter community is a tremendous place to hangout and make friends if you are a vintage lighter enthusiast. I don’t remember exactly how our communications commenced but Zippo Fanatic 77(ZF77) was one of the first friends I made when I began to post to YouTube in earnest and I have made no secret of the fact that he provided some pivotal advice that has made the YouTube channel a far greater success than it would have been without it.

Hanging out in the ZF77 live streams introduced me to 2:00 AM Pipe On The Patio and a number of other members of the YTPC(YouTube Pipe Community) and acquainted with the Zippo Mafia and the assorted band of characters who use that moniker with pride. It’s nice to be able to gather in such a setting with folks who know exactly how you feel about lighters because they know how they feel about theirs.

The marijuana themed custom Zippo that I received as a gift from ZF77 is not only one of the few Zippos that I have in my collection that features custom artwork but also fits neatly into my cannabis theme. The artwork etched not only on the front and back but also all around the top and spines of the lighter truly make it stand out in my collection.

Bear Emblem Penguin Cygnus Table Lighter-Bill Calkins

“Wild Bill” as he is known in the Facebook Lighter Groups is a volume seller of Zippos and other vintage lighters both on Ebay and the Zippo, Vintage Lighters Deal Or No Deal(DOND) Facebook page. I have purchased from him on the DOND page and spent untold amounts of time browsing his copious Ebay auctions which typically have a very low opening bid and include reasonable shipping charges which he is willing to combine for multiple purchases.

I always enjoy seeing Mr. Calkins’ posts in the lighter groups because he has an appreciation for all lighters in general and while he may have an interesting collection of Zippos, his real love is for Ronson automatic lighters, the older the better and some that I’ve yet to personally handle myself including the Wonderliter striker which started it all. Bill and I have communicated privately about a repair project or two and he even sent a lighter/case combo that will be fun to dig into as soon as I come up with a gameplan for it.

The large Penguin Cygnus table model with an emblem featuring a bear he sent me as a gift a few months back really underscores the spirit of camaraderie which exists in no small degree within the vintage cigarette lighter community. He sent that lighter to me for no other reason than he knew I would appreciate it and for that I am forever grateful.

Penguin Cygnus Convertible Table/Pocket Model-Shaun From YouTube

I don’t know Shaun’s last name and can only assume that’s the way he wants it considering that’s the username he chose on YouTube. Perhaps, I could have discerned it from the return address on the package he sent or deciphered it from his email address but Shaun is a true friend nonetheless, whether I’m aware of his last name or not.

Shaun’s gift of the Penguin Cygnus petrol lighter that sets on a studded plastic base as a table model which converts to a full size pocket lighter just by picking it up from that base was a true surprise and one for which I can not thank him enough. Shaun has shown interest in conversations we have had on the Vintage Coffee & Lighters Live! YouTube live stream in acquiring Cygnus lighters of his own, so him sending me this lighter shows that he really wanted me to have it and knew how much I would appreciate it.

Shaun and I have had conversations via email that had nothing to do with old cigarette lighters and similar to Gavin and a few others, Shaun will reach out from time to time just to see how I am doing. That just blows me away and goes to show you that while we may have shared interests, that’s not all we share. It really is possible to meet people on the internet who are every bit your real friend as those you’ve met in person throughout your life.


Because I acquired them as gifts from fellow enthusiasts and friends I have met in the hobby, none of the lighters mentioned above will ever be sold but rather have taken up a permanent position in my personal collection of vintage cigarette lighters. My interest today in the hobby that I initially joined to make money is multi-faceted and has grown to be a blessing on so many levels, not the least of which are the friendships.

I haven’t even mentioned all the cool tobacciana items that Gavin Lannan sent as donations to our Penny Start 100% To Huntington’s Disease Society Of America charity auctions or the All-In-One Zippo Kits that our friend Robert Hollingsworth sent for the same. Robert also sent me a big ol’ tube of flints a while back which I have hardly even begun to deplete.

There are true friendships to be experienced within the vintage cigarette lighter community and I hope that all of you have had a taste of it just like I have. You may never know them by their real name and only call them by their handle on YouTube or any of the various other social media and other platforms that facilitate the sharing of content featuring these fabulous little fire making devices but that doesn’t mean they aren’t real friends.

Please leave any comments, questions or suggestions in the comments section below this or any other article at If you wish to include video or photos to illustrate your post, please consider sharing on the Facebook Group which is extremely user-friendly and allows you to share an entire gallery of media with your post.

Please tell all of your friends and check out the YouTube channel where we regularly post vintage lighter show & tell and instructional repair demonstration videos and also conduct the live stream Vintage Coffee & Lighters Live! where we discuss old lighters over a cup of coffee and talk about whatever else may be on your mind.

Until next time…✌️

Author: Joseph

Be cautious when anyone tells you what you need or have to do...

4 thoughts on “Shared Interest And Camaraderie Result In Priceless Additions To My Vintage Cigarette Lighter Collection”

  1. I love zippos! I have two that I haven’t seen in a few months, since I moved. Since I don’t smoke nearly as often these days, I haven’t gone out of my way to find them. But I do miss them, as each of them brings back fond memories of the people who gave them to me. The first one had a Jolly Roger skull and crossbones etched into it. I was given that one by a high school buddy for my birthday, over 30 years ago. That’s the one I really want to find. The other was a plain one with nothing fancy, just black rubber grips on both ends. It was also given to me by a friend who just decided to give it to me for no particular reason. I’m glad I ran across your site, because it reminded me of how special those were to me. They all have a story behind them. Thanks for sharing!


    1. Hey Mark, I appreciate you stopping by to check out the article and sorry to hear that you have lost your Zippos. I have had similar experiences when moving and you never know when those lost items will reappear in some forgotten box or nook and cranny that are out of the way. I am familiar with the style of Zippos you described and especially always thought the one with the dimpled rubber was pretty cool. It is something pretty special to be able to hang on to a lighter that gets used for over thirty yrs so I hope it reappears!

  2. It is so nice to hear about the kindness and generosity of the people in the vintage lighter community. It is clear that you have made some great friends who share your passion for lighters.

    I especially enjoyed reading about the “JDH” initial engraved Zippo that you received from Gavin Lannan. It is such a thoughtful gift, and I can imagine how special it must have been to receive a lighter with your own initials on it.

    Thank you for sharing your stories about the vintage lighter community. It is clear that you are passionate about lighters, and I am glad that you have found such a supportive and welcoming community.

    1. Thanks Jeffrey, I really appreciate that! It really is a tremendous community and filled with people who are always looking to help out a fellow enthusiast. I have seen it time and time again and when I mention that I have given away parts to someone who needed them simply because I did not need them at that particular moment, I have seen others do the same thing in places like the Facebook lighter groups many times over the years.

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