I sold a bunch of material to Ed Rosen of House of Zion at WestPex, and I took half as cash and half as credit for future stamp purchases from him. The credit was rather large (at least for me), and I was able to bid on items that would normally be out of my price range in his auction last weekend. I bid on 4 total lots, a set of 7-9 plate blocks (the tabs were still, unfortunately out of my reach), and 3 booklets (2B, 3A, and 5B). I just got the results e-mailed to me by Ed. And I am shocked. I won the 7-9 plate blocks, for just over the minimum bid (which was less than a third of catalog value).
However, I was no where close to winning any of the 3 booklets. B2B had a minimum bid of $400, with an estimated value of $1000. The 2004 Bale catalog lists it at $850. It closed at $1900. When you add in the buyers premium, the winner will have paid nearly 2.5 times the catalog value. B3A had a start price of $600, with an estimated value of $1350 and a 2004 Bale catalog value of $1200. It closed at$1650. I checked the other booklets offered, and the majority of the early booklets went for more than the estimates.
So, it looks like the early booklets are hot right now, and their value should be on the rise. Most of the better booklets rarely come up on E-bay, so it is tough to compare. None of the early booklets have sold on E-bay in the past 2 weeks, and only 4 are currently offered for sale (B1, B3B, B5C, and B6). My earlier data from 2007 E-bay tracking shows several sales of the early booklets, most at about half of catalog value. Of course, I wasn't looking at traditional auction realizations then to know if this is normal, or an upward spike.