Taking Inventory Of My Personal Collection Of Vintage Petrol Lighters

During last week’s YouTube live stream Vintage Coffee And Lighters Live! our friend Shaun asked me to make a video covering my entire collection of vintage petrol lighters, ashtrays, tobacciana and other useful mechanisms. Upon endeavoring to make that video I was inspired to write this article giving a bit of insight into what makes up my collection and why they belong there. I hope you enjoy this overview!

The Road Most Traveled

I have written and discussed at length in many videos how I got my start in the vintage cigarette lighter hobby but for the narrative’s sake, I’ll repeat some of it again here. I was initially drawn to the

A Variety Of Cygnus Pocket Lighters

hobby because I needed to make money and saw an opportunity. Buying large groups of lighters, repairing or getting them in working order and then selling them not only proved to be profitable but also engrossed me in all things related to petrol lighters.

So, it wasn’t long before opportunity gave way to admiration and I found myself hoping to keep many that otherwise would have been sold. Still, the vast majority of what passed through my hands did get sold(and still do) but I developed an interest or two in a brand or theme that really stood out to me and my personal interest.

What follows is a broad overview of the best that I’ve collected over the last few yrs. I am still first and foremost a seller and none of the lighters highlighted in this article have been sold. I’m not saying that they won’t be sold at a later time, just that the interest that’s been kindled by my association with these little fire making machines compels me to keep them at the current time.

Penguin Cygnus

I am starting off here with my absolute favorite petrol lighter of all time. It very well could be considered the ideal petrol lighter were it not for its propensity to evaporate fuel rather quickly. That is easily forgiven though given the variety of lighters the brand offers for collection.

From the time I first saw a Cygnus, I’ve been intrigued by the adjustable flint tension thumb roller mechanism that is fairly unique to these lighters. I also loved the surface similarities to the Dunhill Rollalite as roller lighters in general had my attention as well.

The one that really got me started down the path of collection was the gold tone full size pocket model with heavy scroll work engraving. It didn’t have a fuel screw present(most Cygnus are only marked with the brand on the screw itself) when I bought it but I knew from the characteristic flint mechanism that it was a Cygnus.

Shortly after finding the engraved model in a group of lighters on Ebay, I ran across a similar auction that contained another full size model, this one anodized emerald green with gold tone accented snuffer, fuel screw, etcetera. I was off to the races after that, adding several advertising models including a couple short Cygnus’s.

The aluminum construction allowed them to be produced in many different colors. I currently have gold, silver, green, black, champagne and rose gold toned varieties in my collection. I also own a couple large table models, both of them with advertising.

If I had to list my favorites they would be the emerald green and engraved gold tone models I’ve already mentioned along with the double-sided painted Mount Fuji lighter that I found unidentified in yet another Ebay auction.


Zippo is the king of the hill when it comes to lighter brands that have the most collections built around them. There are tons of Zippo lighters out there representing just about any theme or interest one can imagine. The Zippos in my personal collection are mostly gathered around my own personal interests and those that have been gifted to me by others.

I absolutely adore the double-sided Bob Dylan tour merchandise Zippo that may have been the first new, never used Zippo added to my collection but it holds no higher place than the lighter engraved with the stair step J.D.H. initials that was given to me by my buddy Gavin Lannan.

Marlboro Rewards has also been a source of some really cool lighters like the Virgin River Zion V.2 Majestic Views which I actually own two of. Cannabis related Zippos are also an interest of mine and I have at least a couple of those currently in my collection.

Park Industries

Many folks like to bandy about the term knock-off in a pejorative sense when it comes to Park Industries or any other non-Zippo branded flip-top lighter. I can appreciate the CHAMP Austria and even the multitude of Japanese made flip-tops which we’ll talk about more in the following segment but PARK lighters have a special place in my heart and I don’t really care what other folks want to call them.

My current favorite PARK residing in my collection is the ATF badge double-sided with the slogan “Moonshine Kills” on the back side. Alcoholism is an issue that is very important to me, having suffered from it myself for many yrs. Having this lighter has allowed me to talk about the issue of and pitfalls associated with alcohol in a way I might otherwise not have been able to.

I’m not big on collecting alcohol brand advertising lighters because I don’t want to be seen as promoting the use of alcohol but the “Moonshine Kills” ATF lighter offers the opportunity to talk about the subject from a point of view that doesn’t glorify what is a terrible substance to many.

My Family Theme

I do however, have a couple alcohol branded advertising lighters in my collection. It’s not the alcohol brand that I actually collect though so much as memories with loved ones who are no longer with us.

A Smirnoff branded PARK and double-sided 100 Pipers PARK Slim are two of the centerpieces for the family themed segment of my collection. The Smirnoff because of an epic night in the deer woods when my old man was ready to go on a beer run because as he put it, “who drank all the Smirnoff?” when it was actually schnapps he was talking about and the 100 Pipers because that’s what my uncle drank.

Two connections that make sense only to me and a few others join some Japanese made flip-tops that include the Ford promo lighter, Zippo Slim “Jack” engraved and three lighters that actually belonged to my Dad. I think of him often and those lighters keep him and other loved ones and the memories we created in a special place in my mind.

What A Hobby!

I have only been able to touch on a few specific lighters in this overview of my collection. I haven’t even mentioned any ashtrays or other useful mechanisms that are some of my favorite items in the overall collection.

There will be a more comprehensive video available shortly and I hope that you will comment below this article with any insight or questions you may have. There are all kinds of folks out there who want to put you down for what you collect, want to talk about how common or unworthy some lighters are but the reality is that each collector focuses on what they deem valuable and they do it for their own reasons.

These are just a few of what I’ve collected so far and I’m thrilled to show them to you and also to keep accumulating what I like and place value in.

Please check out our YouTube channel and consider joining us Tuesday morning for the live stream Coffee And Lighters Live! We talk about old cigarette lighters and just about any other subject that may come up! Join us for the camaraderie and fellowship.

Until next time…✌️

Author: Joseph

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

10 thoughts on “Taking Inventory Of My Personal Collection Of Vintage Petrol Lighters”

  1. Hi there Joseph. I stumbled upon your blog post about taking inventory of your personal collection of vintage petrol lighters and was thoroughly impressed. Your passion and expertise on the subject are evident throughout the post and I commend you on your dedication to preserving these historical treasures. I appreciate the attention to detail you put into maintaining and storing each lighter, ensuring their longevity for future generations to enjoy. Your descriptions of the individual stories behind each lighter in your collection truly brought them to life and added a sentimental touch. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience with us. Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    1. Thank you Dave, I’m glad your enjoyed reading the article and appreciate very much you sharing your insight here. Vintage petrol lighters are really fabulous little machines and while it may have taken me a minute or two to catch the collecting bug, I am happy to have accumulated the special pieces that I have. I hope you will check back regularly and read the other lighter collecting articles that we publish.✌️

  2. Thank you for sharing your personal collection of vintage petrol lighters in your article. As someone who is also interested in collecting vintage items, I am fascinated by the idea of owning a piece of history. I noticed that you mentioned the rarity and value of some of the lighters in your collection, which made me wonder: what criteria do you use to determine the rarity and value of a vintage petrol lighter? Do you take into consideration factors such as the manufacturer, the year it was produced, the condition of the lighter, or any unique features that may distinguish it from other similar lighters? I am curious to learn more about the thought process behind assessing the rarity and value of vintage items in general, and specifically in regards to your personal collection of petrol lighters.

    All the best, 


    1. Thank you Fred for reading and the comment my friend, I appreciate the questions as well!

      The value and rarity of any given lighter will depend on many factors. You rightly bring up whether the manufacturer, yr it was produced, condition or unique characteristics play a role and the answer for all of those things is yes!

      Zippo, Thorens, Dunhill are all brand names that draw a premium over lesser quality, similar lighters. Typically the older, the more value but that’s not always true. Condition is key of course as all collectors desire a “mint” condition lighter. Unique mechanisms or variations thereof could also form the theme of many collections. I really it is all these factors in conjunction with many others that ultimately determine value.

      To help familiarize, you can check out this article I wrote about determining comparable values from “Sold” Ebay listings.

  3. What a fabulous collection of Vintage Lighters you have. I Congratulate you on your efforts to bring them all together!

    The “Moonshine Kills” marked ATF Lighter has a great look and is advertising the right note. I loved it in the first instance.

    The Zippo Lighters have the widest collection and known quite well in other parts of the world as well.

    Thanks for writing this article. Waiting to read more on lighters.

    Best Regards,


    1. Thank you Rohit, I appreciate you stopping by again! The ATF Moonshine Kills Park Lighter is definitely my favorite from the portion of my collection.

      And yes everyone around the world has heard of Zippo and therefore is the focus of many collections, some folks seem to think they are the only lighter worthy of collection but that is just not the case.

      I publish a new article every Monday and Thursday so please check back often as there will be at least two articles for you to read every week.

  4. Hey there, lighter lovers!

    I just finished reading an article about vintage petrol lighters, and let me tell you, it was fascinating. The author, Joseph, takes us through his personal collection and shares stories about each one. As someone who doesn’t own any lighters myself, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the article.

    It’s clear that Joseph has a deep passion for these little treasures. He talks about the history behind each one and the joy that comes with collecting them. It made me wonder, what is it about these lighters that makes them so special? Is it the craftsmanship, the history, or simply the act of collecting them?

    As someone who doesn’t collect lighters, I can only imagine the thrill of finding that one special piece to add to your collection. It must be a satisfying feeling to look at your collection and remember the stories behind each lighter.

    I just wanted to take a moment to thank Joseph for sharing his passion with us. It’s always fascinating to learn about something new, and his article definitely did not disappoint.

    So, to all you lighter enthusiasts out there, keep on collecting and cherishing those vintage petrol lighters. And to those of us who don’t collect them, maybe it’s time to start! Who knows, we might just find a new hobby that brings us as much joy as it does to Joseph.

    Cheers to the beauty and history of vintage lighters!

    1. Thank you Bob, I appreciate your very kind comments and am thrilled that you found the article so interesting. Most of us have experience with and can understand the appeal of old or vintage items and the nostalgic emotions they invoke. I can hear that appeal in your words.

      Speaking of appeal, you asked if it was the craftsmanship, history or act of collecting itself and I would say number one is the craftsmanship. There’s nothing like finding a new mechanism that time has affected adversely and putting it back into working condition. But the history is interesting and the collecting fun too.

  5. Hello Joseph, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your collection of vintage petrol lighters.  I can say I have owned a Zippo and it was my favorite possession for quite some time, as I found it a talking point when using it. I love the fact that you restore the old vintage lighters, that is quite a talent to get those old mechanisms working well.  Do you easily find parts like the adjustable flint tension thumb rollers for the Cygnus petrol lighters? Or do you fix them to work?  

    I must say that the painted Mount Fuji lighter is beautiful.  I am curious were many solid silver petrol lighters made?

    Thanks kindly


    1. Thank you for stopping by Erica, I appreciate you reading the article as well as sharing your insight on personally using a Zippo. Old petrol lighters do seem to create conversation when they are used simply because folks are not used to seeing them in use these days.

      I find parts basically by purchasing “parts” lighters or those that are blemished or damaged to the point that no one would ever consider actually rebuilding them. I have fashioned a part here or there but for the most part, parts are robbed off of donor lighters. 

      Oh, and yes there have been many solid sterling silver lighters made over the yr including this one I wrote about a while back.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.