The Culling Collection of Military Watches

Date of Auction: 9th June 2020

Sold for £300

Estimate: £20 - £25

American military: A Vietnam war engraved Zippo lighter, the chrome plated lighter signed ‘Zippo, Bradford, PA’ to the base, one side later inscribed ‘Dre/Vietnam/69-70, Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I fear no evil for the evilest son of the bitch in the valley’ (sic). £20-£25


The Zippo lighter was an essential personal item of the US army regular soldier; during WWII the Zippo company had reserved its production exclusively for the US military. However it was during the Vietnam war when soldiers often customised their lighters with sentimental and personal slogans and images, that they became an iconic symbol of the American foot soldier.
Some of the slogans reflect the views of career servicemen, who were proud to serve and believed strongly in the cause they were fighting for, and these inscriptions tended to comprise their unit’s name, badge, or motto, or else something patriotic.
However as the Vietnam War dragged on, it became more and more unpopular and increasing numbers of US soldiers were unwillingly drafted into a war they had no interest in. It is the lighters of these men that carry some of the most poignant inscriptions.

This lighter’s inscription is a darkly humorous twist on Psalm 23:4 of the King James bible.