Verona, as far as the Herm Sprenger irons, yes, they're outrageously expensive. I have the earlier version, about $200. 8 - 10 years ago, and they were worth every penny. I think any rider over 40 would probably appreciate them, and I wish they had been around when I was still getting on 5 - 6 horses a day.
I have to say I never tried those jointed irons (whether cheap or expensive), so don't know the difference really (I'm sure there is a difference).