Being enlightened can be dull

Look, has anyone got Charlie Chaplin in their pocket? No? That’s a shame because the Charlie Chaplin lighter is a rare beast.

Look, has anyone got Charlie Chaplin in their pocket?

No? That’s a shame because the Charlie Chaplin lighter is a rare beast. Ronson, the company which made Charlie and lots and lots of other lighters, is holding an auction of lighters on 31 July to mark its centenary.

Up for grabs are the world’s first lighter, the Ronson Wonderliter, the first automatic lighter, the Ronson Banjo (cost 2, now worth 1000), and the 1960s Bondesque combination watch and lighter. But they haven’t got a Charlie Chaplin.

And in the spirit of phone card collecting mania, there is even a Lighter Club of Great Britain. The club’s founder Richard Ball enthuses: “Lighter collecting has exploded in the past few years in Britain. Ten books have been written on the subject in the past two years and the number of lighter clubs has grown from just one to seven!”

On and on he goes: “People have always collected pens and watches, but have now discovered a rich new field in lighters. Many are kept on display at home – particularly the Ronson lighters which come in a variety of wonderful shapes… elephants, ballerinas, penguins, monkeys, and so on.”

Somebody, please, please give that man a cigarette.

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