Facsimiles are just a fancy way of referring to "exact copies," and they can be a really fun way to actively engage with literary history, comic book valuation strategy, and game collecting.
Even though a facsimile edition refers to something that by definition is not an "original" item, such an item can be worthy of investment if it is clear to you, the buyer, that it is indeed a facsimile you are investing in.
Certainly being misled by a very well made facsimile edition in the guise of a first edition/original release is a threat we all face, especially when ordering from online merchants, but there are plenty of solid reasons a collector might seek out facsimile editions on purpose.
All facsimiles are not created equal, of this fact we should all be aware. That said, I've outlined key reasons a smart collector might seek out specific facsimile editions below.
All facsimiles are not simply reprints of old published works, in the case of such facsimile editions as Jung's Red Book and Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises Original Manuscript readers can see the true interaction between the author, the written word, and the page. When a facsimile "edition" is a facsimile of something that is "one of a kind," there is a better chance that this asset has long term value. If the print run is limited… all the better.
Often a first edition of a book a collector is dying to include in their library is simply out of the collector's price range. Maybe the collector once owned this book, but cost prohibits ever owning it again. Take Pratchett's Colour of Magic. This entryway into the immortal Discworld series will run you 5 figures for a signed first edition, but the facsimile edition, with an equally authentic signature from the author will only run you about 1k or less!
Take something like a facsimile of Fantastic Four Issue #1 released just last year, at 200 dollars already significantly higher in value (possibly inflated) than the majority of 2018 comic releases, but certainly more attainable than the 15 grand original on the lower side of very fine.
Sometimes a collector owns a cherished, and still valuable first edition that has seen much better days. In this case some collectors opt to purchase or create facsimiles of the original book jackets. This is a smart move for a seller of collectables, because in some cases you can successfully mark an edition up ethically… as long as you are open about the fact that the cover is a facsimile. Take this edition of Steinbeck's Cup of Gold with a facsimile jacket.
These can be especially lucrative buys in the world of gaming. In some cases an anniversary edition can be far more limited than even the original edition. For instance there were only 1,000 units available of a glow-in-the-dark blue Megaman 2 NES cartridge reissue… wheras there are closer to 1.5 million original Megaman 2 cartridges that were sold upon release. In this scenario, long term, you very well may be making the smarter buy with the facsimile edition than paying the 3000% higher price tag affixed to a mint condition original Megaman 2 release.
Sometimes you can have both a facsimile and an original edition at the same time. This is especially prevelant in today's comic book landscape that often offers limited editions with "homages" to early, classic comic book covers. These are often hit or miss, but if you can track down earlier examples of this practice you might be more likely to have a reasonable item for your comic book portfolio. This is especially true of satirical uses of facsimile-like homage, such as Deadpool Vol 1 Issue #11 (A reimagining of the Amazing Fantasy 15 cover) and Howard the Duck issue 19 (Another jab at Spidey, Amazing #50).
So there you have it! Sure, if someone is selling you a first edition and a "facsimile" shows up in the mail… you have every right to be pissed, and I'm definitely interested in doing a deeper study as to how many items (a percentage) in the secondary market are counterfeit. This will definitely be fodder for a later blog post. But, for now, I hope I've convinced you that there are certainly times when a facsimile can be worth a little investment, even if it's more for love than money.