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But that’s a figure that doesn’t happen overnight—hell, it took Ty years before people camped outside of Hallmark stores for Beanie Babies—and Zippo’s story of collectibility really begins in 1939, almost a decade after the company was founded.First, sell an item only a portion of the population needs.Second, slap a lifetime guarantee on it—not the customer’s lifetime, mind you, the lifetime of the product itself (aka forever).(You can learn more the dating code here.) Also stamped on the bottom of every Zippo lighter is the town where it was made—Bradford, PA. You see, there was a period when Zippo operated a factory in Canada (tax purposes), and lighters that came from that factory were stamped with “Niagara Falls, Ontario,” in place of “Bradford, Pennsylvania.” Since Zippo Canada’s production wasn’t close to that of Zippo USA, a Zippo from the land of poutine is a must-have for any serious collector. And this trend goes on, with small runs and new designs.Today, Zippo’s design center comes up with 30 new creations every year.Well, they could try, and many do, but what makes Zippo’s model really tick is a certain cool factor birthed from a long history, some clever placement, and a lot of famous fans.

The code, which is stamped on the bottom of every Zippo, displays the year and the month the lighter was made.Finally, having ensured minimal repeat business, go ahead and launch your company in the middle of The Great Depression.Now, our business acumen developed solely from watching episodes of , but this sounds like an awful idea.There were leather wrapped versions, plain brass ones, and special models made on the day Zippo crafted its 500 millionth lighter (June 5, 2012). Kelvinator received white Zippo lighters that looked like miniature refrigerators.Kennecott Utah Copper received the only Zippo lighters crafted from copper; Alcoa received the only ones made from aluminum.

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