This unusual vintage lighter is quite a find. It is really one of those one-of-a-kind items that tells its own story.
The lighter is very substantial and unusually large measuring almost 4 inches tall.
Unlike most typical lighters, this one features a long extinguishing arm that keeps the wick covered and dry when not in use.
The flint wheel is found on the opposite side of the wick on another long, brass arm.
The lighter is coated in brass but likely includes steel components on the interior.
There is a faint maker's mark on the top of the lighter. The mark is diamond-shaped and shows the name "Fujiama" in capitals inside.
Aside from its unique, vintage appeal the lighter is made all the more special by several hand-engraved markings.
The previous owner has carved a number of letters into both sides.
The biggest engraving on the front of the lighter reads "R.S."; the initials are surrounded by several little etched flowers. Near the base, the markings read "5T, 26iN, 6U to 1H5, CiR". The "R.S." initials are repeated on the reverse.
It's hard to say what the marks may have meant to the original owner, but the mystery is part of what makes the lighter so interesting. This type of hand decoration is typical of soldier's trench art.
A mysterious silver-tone oblong placard on the underside of the lighter is stamped with strangely elegant markings and reads "Ministere des Finances". The center of the placard shows a Greek-style head in profile.
This placard actually portrays the seal of France's Ministry of Finance. From what we have found, this is a tax stamp.
The Ministry acts essentially like a government cabinet, preparing and implementing financial and economic policy.
As you can see, the lighter is definitely a mysterious and interesting artifact.
It shows some wear and oxidization, but remains in good condition overall.
Measurements: 4" tall, 3" wide, 1" thick, Extinguisher arm is 2 ¾" long, Flint wheel is ¾" in diameter Weight: 368.5 grams (13 oz.)