I must admit SLE is a thing of beauty and I wouldn't blame anyone for plunking down more money for it. Does it suck for the average joe that prices keep going up at a ridiculous rate? Of course. They are pricing most of us out... for now. Who knows what the next 5 years will bring. Eventually they will need the average joes buying NIB machines again and they will find a way to make that happen.
Congrats Stern on a beautiful machine that supersedes your main competition JJP in the looks category.
In regards to VE's... I think you guys missed the mark on what the community was asking for. Sure some were asking for better artwork, but honestly I think the majority of people want the originals at a fair price. I don't think VE's should be targeted at high end collectors. Save that for new IP. VE's could/should be a way to win back the average joes.