We have a special soft spot for the practicality of standard-issue military goods, like the helmet bags that inspired our Nylon Canvas Military Brief.
We also love the ingenious ways that soldiers find to customize their stuff. Vietnam-era Zippos are the ultimate example. These utilitarian lighters were engraved to reflect a range of styles and emotions that had few other outlets during deployment, considering the circumstances. Taken together, the personalizations tell a human story about the war.
Bradford Edwards has collected Vietnam-era Zippos for years. In July, he sold off 282 of his best at Cowan’s Auctions in Cincinnati. The lot of military folk art went for just over $35,000.