Why the spike in values????
eBay makes no sense. At times there will be a feeding frenzy of high prices as though it is understood there is rarity, and at other times reality sets in. For whatever the reason among E Series, the single cell lights command a higher price. Maybe there are less of the single cell bodies. But still, logically, Surefire flashlights are worth the sum of their parts. For E1d LED Defender, this is 3 parts: a head, a body, and a tail. The head has a market value separately the same as the body, and the tail. Add their prices together, that is what the complete light is worth. Anyone paying more may be paying for the box, whether it is sealed and the item unused and NIB, as this increases collector value if and only if preserved that way indefinitely. IOW, a collector item has no use whatsoever other than as an investment, and using the light, even removing it from the package and merely displaying it, defeats that investment.
Personally, while I do understand vintage electronics and their collectability, using and running them doesn't hurt their value. A vintage transistor radio or an 8-bit computer won't be worth much more unused and NIB, though for reasons some models from some manufacturers are worth more due to rarity and desirability. The market reacts to supply and demand and sets the value.
But hardly any of Surefire's hardware is rare, and it is also not old. There are tens of thousands of most of Surefire flashlight models, sometimes pushing five to ten to twenty times that number depending on the size of their military contracts —and absolutely none of Surefire's LED handheld lights are remotely exceptional regarding the emitter, brightness, or runtime. All that distinguishes them is that they are American made and built well, can take a lot of abuse.
Surefire incan models, on the other hand, are exceptional when compared to other incandescent flashlights, so the market for incan E, M & P, etc. does make some sense to me, and I can see certain rare anodized models selling for what seems like ridiculous prices when unblemished or NIB.
But a ten year old LED flashlight that is one among 70,000 others or more that are identical except for the serial number? This makes no sense, especially because anyone that knows light, the stuff that hits our eyes, knows that Surefire's LEDs produce awful light. They're terrible in tint, in color temperature, and in color rendition. The hardware is valuable, the drivers and LEDs are as bad as any of the worst and cheapest among flashlight manufactures. It is obvious that Surefire never put much thought into their drivers and emitters, and merely maximized their profits using what is effectively commodity LEDs and electronics. The idea that they hardened these devices probably isn't true, as LED are already shockproof and durable, as is solid state electronics. I don't know why anyone would desire them so greatly as to collect them. It's like collecting Ford Pintos or AMC Gremlins. While the aesthetic could have some value, the engines were junk, and while collecting junk is easy, it isn't much of an investment. Paying more than market value is not investing so much as it is throwing money away. eBay is an auction site, part of the market, but it is not the
market. Sellers sell too high, and buyers pay too much. eBay is an exaggeration of the market, not some gold standard.
This leads me to believe what others have suspected, that the prices of aftermarket Surefire are being manipulated by unscrupulous sellers. They are effectively of the same ilk as ticket scalpers, and do as they do. And what you have detected on eBay recently is not E1b skyrocketing in value. What you are seeing is Tulip mania