Sometimes you come across an auction that reminds you how bad a seller can make things look without thinking. The picture below is pretty much exactly how this seller had his page ( I removed the top portion that showed his details, but apart from that, the layout is unchanged, and if you are the seller, I apologise if this page appears disrespectful). The original advert had no way to enlarge the images , but after somebody asked him for some better pictures, the 'click on photo to enlarge' option was added (don't bother trying it here, it won't work, I didn't include hyperlinks). It has to be said though, that the way the pictures were taken and shown didn't do him any favours, side on views where you have to rotate your head through 90 degrees to see them don't make buyers want to spend too much time on them, especially with so many to go through.
Many of these lighters are engraved (which, as they are not related to anybody famous, significantly affects their value in a downward direction), the red display boxes are available for around 7 pounds sterling in the UK, and no doubt a lot cheaper in the US, so their value is probably better placed around 2-3 dollars max, especially as some are damaged and all are well used. The large Zippo display case has been mutilated with padlock hasps and is consequently not really good enough for home display. The collection as a whole isn't particularly exciting.
So why does it cut people out of bidding and why may it be a bad way to sell?
There could be a jewel in the collection, but having to trawl through each image in the hope of spotting something is a task many would skip. Add to this the fact that you would have to outlay a seriously high cost for a large amount of lighters that you don't want in order to get the one you really want. A buyer may consider doing this when the target number is 4 or 5 lighters, but a hundred and fifty three? short of there being a 1933 original in there the chances are almost none existent. I say almost, because this auction was brought to my intention by a click member asking if it was a good deal. It obviously appeals to some buyers.
The only real plus point here is the amount of lighters being sold. It is an instant collection, albeit none to exciting for most, but a quick way to having lots of Zippos. It looks like a market traders sell off. That is to say, it is a large collection of Zippo's with few items really of interest. Part of the thrill of collecting though, is the finding of a piece that gives you some pleasure, and I am sure this mass of brass is missing that feeling.
Many collectors find a type or genre that interests them, Pinups, Military, Naval, Railroad, and they build up from this base, often crossing into other areas. This particular eBay sale just isn't anything but a lot of old Zippos.
The biggest problem here though, is the fact that even if every Zippo collector on the planet went through every picture on the advert, they may only find one or two of any interest, and buying a further 151 lighters will probably not be an option for 99.9 percent of them. Simply put, it is just too much for the average collector to consider.
Had he sold them in batches of ten, with a no reserve price, he may have made some money from them, sometimes people buy cheap lighters, solely for the fact they are cheap and lived in.