Ok, here's a little story about puppies and human nature.
A test was done by dog rescue groups to see how to better adopt out black dogs/puppies, since they are for some reason overlooked and adopted out less at shelters. They took a set of 8 Labrador puppies out in public, 4 black and 4 brown/chocolate. All the same breed/size/gender, just the color was different. Then they'd show only 5 puppies at a time to people, and ask them which dog they preferred or would want to adopt. The test was that when they showed the 5 puppies, they would show either 1 black and 4 brown, or they'd show 4 black and 1 brown. Over 90% of the time, people picked the color that only 1 was available. It didn't matter if the dog was brown or black, it mattered that it was different and therefore perceived to be the most rare. I'm sure some people had an actual puppy color preference, as do some people who want the LE just for the art package, but most people wanted the 'limited' one. (This comes in handy with dog rescue by the way. If you have a black dog that desperately needs a home, be sure it is the only black dog available for adoption that day and surround it with brown dogs. Instant "limited edition" dog.)
I guarantee you that I could take 4 premium and 4 LE (without plaques or numbers obvious) pinball machines out in the general public and run the same test, and whichever machine was different would be picked the most. Probably not 100%, because again some people do have a distinct preference about artwork, but with the same gameplay available on both machines, whichever one is seen as the most rare is always going to be in more demand. When you do in fact label it as "limited edition" and tell the exact number made, this just upps the desire. Basic marketing 101. Stern knows this and uses it to create instant demand before the machine is even out, and when the limited editions are all sold out, then people have to 'settle' for the premium. Sadly, this is also why there are so many flippers, because they understand supply/demand as well.
I honestly would love to see a charity auction with a "super duper extra special limited edition" machine that had the same gameplay but a different art package, with only 1 made. Huge plaque on the back that said "1 of 1" on it. Think of the bragging rights someone could have for that, and all the money that could be raised for charity because you know some people would spend a fortune just to add it to their collection.