1964 Penguin Submarine Lighter Collection

Value (2015) | $7,000 Retail$8,400 Retail

Well, this belonged to my father and I came into possession of it ten years ago when he passed away. He was a military submariner for 30 years, very proud to be in the Navy, and he collected this over time, and there's a total of 120 lighters. They have military insignias with all the different submarines, about two dozen that he served on.

Well, he amassed quite a collection of Penguin lighters and as you say, they do have the ship's mascot, if you will, or what the ship's name is. They're in really remarkable condition. That was the first thing that impressed me so much is they're all in the original boxes with the original tissue paper. I believe they're dated 1964, so they'd be just at the beginning of the Vietnam War over 40 years ago. They look like they were just made yesterday. They get very heavily stained from the lighter fluid, from the fire, but these are in mint, mint condition. And of special interest, the ones that I really liked were some of the local Hawaiian ones. This one here was the, uh...

Cameja Meja.

Yeah, just an incredible group of lighters. These are becoming very, very popular amongst collectors over the past ten or 15 years. Do you have any idea what these might be worth?

I have no idea, but I know a Zippo is about five bucks.

Well, a modern Zippo. If these were vintage Zippos from this period, they'd be considerably more than that, but even Penguins, which are not quite as valuable as Zippos, are still valuable. Most of these lighters, if they were sold individually, would retail at anywhere between $35 and $150 apiece.


So you've got total excess of $10,000 worth of lighters.

You're kidding.

No, I'm not. It's a very valuable collection, yes.

Okay I'm flabbergasted. Wow. So my inheritance paid off. (laughs)

Appraisal Details

Grenadier Military Antiques Auctions
Santa Monica, CA
Value Update (2015)
$7,000 Retail$8,400 Retail
Appraised value (2006)
$10,000 Retail$12,000 Retail
Honolulu, HI (August 26, 2006)

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