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Vintage USS Constellation Lighter

Vintage USS Constellation Lighter

I’ve just listed this vintage lighter celebrating the U.S.S. Constellation CVA-64.

The lighter bears the raised emblem adopted when the ship was first commissioned in 1961: a star-spangled blue field; the frigate of 1797 on the left; CVA-64, her aircraft and her guided missile battery, on the right; all encircled in yellow.

This full-sized brushed chrome lighter was made in Japan by Penguin (No. 19531).

[Note: The bottom of this vintage lighter is not brushed, so it is very shiny and difficult to photograph.]

It is often compared to, or considered a knock-of of, the “original” Zippo “Town and Country” lighter. However, it is important for collectors of lighters to note that the Zippo version was not truly a Town & Country lighter. Zippo ended the Town and Country line in 1960; meanwhile, the USS Constellation (CVA-64) was launched October 1960, delivered to the Navy in October 1961, and commissioned at the end of October 1961. While the paint on paint process continued to be used by Zippo, lighters using that process were not part of the real own & Country line.

It’s a great piece in terms of history; and in collecting, it’s a reminder of how wartime knock-offs are often nearly as valuable as the originals. If the knock-off was the lighter held back in the day, it’s the lighter you want today.

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