Q: I am a retired U.S. Air Force sergeant. Sometime during my 20 years of service, I received a chrome-plated “Camp David” Zippo pocket lighter. The front has a black engraving of the camp’s entryway, with a rope-like circle around the image. I understand it has some value. True?
A: Zippo lighters were first made in Bradford, Pa., in 1932. When smoking was more socially acceptable than it is now, lighters were popular souvenirs. The military as well as U.S. presidents purchased them to give as souvenirs to servicemen and visiting dignitaries. Camp David was built in the 1930s and was used as a presidential retreat starting in 1942. But it wasn’t called “Camp David” until 1953, when President Dwight David Eisenhower renamed the retreat after his grandson, David Eisenhower. Other marks on your lighter may help you date it. A lighter matching yours, made in 1972, is for sale online with its original box and insert. The asking price is $45.