Many players who already have higher level characters create alts that they level to a certain point and then stop. Often, these twinks are level 18-19, 28-29, 38-39, etc. for the purpose of going to battlegrounds at the top of their tiers and kicking butt. Since these twinked characters are owned by higher level players with lots of cash, they usually outfit them with the best gear available at their level. Thus, items that require level 17-19, level 27-29, or any other items around this level, with good stats or dps, often sell for much higher prices than they normally would. This is especially true on an older server, and also especially true of blue (rare) items. In general, "good stats" include Cloth "of the Eagle" (for mages, warlocks), Leather "of the Monkey" (for hunters and rogues), and Mail "of the Bear" (for warriors/paladins)as well as weapons with these suffixes that can be used by the right class.
Formerly, when you visited a new zone, you would be very careful, tiptoeing around, cause everything was higher level than you. But as you dinged (leveled up), you would get more powerful relative to the locals. So you would feel more confident and capable. Dinging came to represent more HP, more Mana, better hit ratio, more crits, more talent points. you felt REALLY good when you dinged, like you had accomplished something. Almost tangible. You would think "now I can go back and take that mob/group that ganked me". And then when you had done all the quests, you would move to another zone and do it again. Fun!