Here's my take on it (for what little it's worth)
The price on these seems to have risen really fast. People complain that $4k is way too high but when one comes up on Pinside for $3,500 all the comments are "this should go fast!" or "you can get more". Both machines sold at $3,500 here on Pinside went fast. Both were really nice players machines. The last two on eBay went for around $4,250. Both had some playfield issues and cosmetic issues but had lots of new parts (boulders, ramps, etc).
If you can get one for $3,500 by all means, go for it. I thought it was a $3,500 pin too but apparenlty I'm wrong because they go for more than that in the open market. Based on my experience you're going to have a hard time finding one for that price in your area unless you get lucky. If it's $3,500 and out of your area, expect to pay about $4,000 anyway because you have to ship it.
All in all, condition and parts needed are everything and can justify jumps from the norm in either direction but it looks like a nice players machine is anywhere from $3,500 to $4,250 in this day and age, and I'd lean toward the $4,000 mark due to the prices brought at auction.