Quoted from shelby1000:
I have an AFM that I bought when I was stationed in Germany that I have brought it to New York. It has a dual voltage transformer and I converted it over to 120v. The game plays perfect with no changes in gameplay from Germany. I have heard people say from time to time that re-imports are not as desirable for some reason but no one really says why. I may be looking to sell my AFM in the near future to make room for other pins. Like I stated the AFM plays perfect and is in good condition I just want to get a fair price but don't want to hear your's is not worth much because it is from Germany if there is no real reason for it. Thanks.
It's more a legacy topic but has some merit.. but less so really.
Back in the 90s.. the second hand market for buying games from operators was getting competitive.. especially for top titles.. while over in Europe there was a glut of games.. so it was popular to 'reimport' games from overseas where people would buy titles in bulk by the container. Due to surplus, currency, etc it was really advantageous to do so if you could handle the volume of games. The usual was they'd get stuck with a lot of beaters to get a few gems. It wasn't uncommon for games to be shipped or packed poorly, leading to rust, water damage, etc.
Because these guys were buying in bulk, generally sight unseen, they would have a surplus of these subpar games they had to unload. No one was doing HEP restorations, there was no CPR playfields, etc. These games would be pushed out cheap.. and the frequency/volume of these beaters dominated the perception of reimports. For every gem of a reimport, there were probably 5 subpar ones. This stigma persisted... that a reimport game may have more 'hidden' issues or were mistreated, etc.
So there was a general perception that reimports were of poorer condition.. and even if you dressed them up.. there could be skeletons in the closet due to the corrosion, etc. That impacted pricing and people's perceptions.
But as others have mentioned, condition is everything. Now a days, I'd imagine a reimport may still carry some stigma, but its far less important than condition/wear. If you were comparing identical condition games to buy.. the domestic would probably be more desirable (just one less demerit against the game), but in the era of appreciation we are in now, its not going to hold a good title down.. just blemish it a bit.