One of the few things I still collect are Zippo lighters.
At first this was mostly just a hobby, which quickly turned into a full-blown love affair. I love the sound they make when you open them, keeping them well maintained, and of course, the smell they give off after being lit. Such a wonderful aroma. I’ve also learned quite a few cool tricks over the years, like opening it w/ one hand (the squeeze), rolling it through the fingers (Zippo Tango) and sparking the light with the snap of your fingers…but those are all pretty basic. (Yeah… I’m a total douchebag for mentioning that).
Over the years, my collection has grown to about 40+ lighters. While that might not be a lot to some, at $20-$30 (up to even $50) a pop, one has to set a budget. I’ve sold at least 10 lighters in the last two years, and I was able to get more for some of them than I originally paid. Not all lighters skyrocket in value though, which is why you should have a good understanding of everything engraved on the bottom: year, style, model, serial code, etc.
Fun fact: People often think the lighters are manufactured by prisoners, and that the letters on the bottom stamp indicate their crime—”R” for rape, “M” for murder, etc.—when, in fact, all they do is help identify the year and size of that particular Zippo.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures at the present time (my collection is at my mom’s place), but I will try to get a photo (or two) at some point during the holidays. Cheers, friends!