I came here looking for this topic. Glad pwog started it. Thanks.
I was wondering about other collectors' thoughts on this subject. I have noticed that Mile High Comics usually charges a lot more for some newsstand editions than the direct market editions. For example: Spider-Man Versus Wolverine (1987 1st print) Mile High Comics is charging $24.00 for a NM direct edition and $52.50 for a newsstand edition. Is the newsstand really that more rare of a book in this issue to validate the higher price? Just asking.
First off, Mile High Comics really isn't the best source for pricing comics. They are known to, let's say, charge a premium over what you normally will find a book for then offer discounts using codewords to make it seem like a good deal. With that said, here is my thoughts on it.
Generally speaking, newsstand versions are going to be harder to find on the secondary market, especially in high grades. Why? Because, typically, the people who purchase comics from the newsstand are not the serious collector but the casual fan. They aren't aware of (or really care about) how condition plays into the value of a book so they are more likely to be mishandled. Also, the stores that sell newsstand copies don't have the best display racks and can damage the book before the person even buys it. Finally, the newsstand version of a comic is usually returnable to the distributor. That means the only copies that end up being available on the secondary market are only those that sold off of the stands.
With the direct market issues, those are usually printed based off of the preorders received with an additional allocation for overstock. The comic shops that purchase direct market comics cannot return them so almost all of the print run will be available on the secondary market at one point or another. It is also the secondary market where additional printings will appear if it is a particularly popular issue. Finally, the comic shops (and customers) will usually handle the issues in a much safer manner making higher grade copies more readily available.
Does that mean that newsstand editions should be "worth more" than the direct market edition? That is harder to pinpoint. So far, I have not seen a collector base that desires to have newsstand copies over direct market copies. They want a copy of the issue regardless of where it came from. While some might place a premium on it, the general collecting hobby has not. It is possible that this will change but that is why you aren't seeing every issue that has a direct market and newsstand version being priced differently in the price guides, collectors, frankly, just really don't care for the most part. I have a Spawn #1 that has the newsstand UPC. I've seen hundreds, if not thousands, of copies without it but not too many with it. Is it worth more? Not according to the price guides. Until there is a paradigm shift on how newsstand issues are accepted in the hobby, I don't think that it'll ever change.