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Yankee Air Pirates

USAF Uniforms and Memorabilia of the Vietnam War

Swiss Zippo Guru: Rolf Gerster

Posted on March 22 2013 by Olivier Bizet & François Millard

© 2013 Rolf Gerster

© 2013 Rolf Gerster

It is impossible to write a book about Vietnam War collectibles without mentioning the Zippo lighter. During the war it became an iconic accessory, used by the units to inspire esprit de corps with nice factory etched designs, and by the soldiers themselves who had Vietnamese craftsmen inscribe their personal feelings on their treasured lighters.

These Zippos were carried everywhere, and today are a poignant reminder of one's tour of duty. They are much sought after by collectors, who have to face increasing numbers of fake or "enhanced" lighters mass-produced in Asia.

Although we have found quite a few Zippos in more than 20 years of collecting, we are far from what Rolf Gerster has accomplished. Rolf started collecting around 2000, and focused only on Zippos. He accumulated a truly unique collection, including many lighters whose previous owners are identified. Rolf's dedication and efforts to gather information about his Zippos are really outstanding. He shares the results of his impressive research on his website, along with many other resources. Rolf kindly sent us many photos of his best USAF lighters, which are a great addition to Yankee Air Pirates.

His website is in German, but it makes great eye candy even if you do not speak the language. Visit the address below and click "Bildergalerien" to get started!


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