Dating Your Zippo Lighter
As with most collectibles, the date of manufacture of a Zippo lighter often affects its value. Valuable information on the bottom of every Zippo windproof lighter can help you determine its date of manufacture. Starting in the mid 50’s, a date code was stamped on the bottom of every Zippo lighter made. The original purpose was for quality control. The date code has since become an invaluable tool for Zippo collectors. Most lighters fabricated between 1933 and 1957 can be identified by style and model and the patent or patent-pending marks.
The appearance of the word "Zippo" in the bottom stamp provides another clue to dating. There have been three major changes, as show below. From 1933 to the mid 50s, the word Zippo was stamped in block letters. The Zippo script logo was developed in the late 40s and was phased-in on the lighter bottom stamp around 1955. In the late 70s the logo was redesigned. It was incorporated into the bottom stamp in 1980.
What began as a quality-control tool for Zippo founder George G. Blaisdell has become a collector’s dream. To identify a potential pattern in any run of lighters returned for repair, the bottom of every Zippo lighter was encoded with a series of markings. Since the 1950s, those markings provide a way to accurately date most Zippo lighters.
Current Date Code System
The current date code system uses a letter and two-digit number to identify the month and year of manufacture.
- Letters A thru L represent the month (A for January, B for February, etc.)
- The two digits correspond to the year it was made – 14 for 2014