likely the ONLY reason (because sparkle paint is not much more money at all than regular)
Is that it's new. In theory, the VWH should actually be more expensive to produce in material cost, but only by a few dollars.
Like any new model, wait a few years, and it will be cheaper. The VWH when it first arrived was more money (in relation to the economy) than it is now, same with the DBK's, and any new model.
It's not Ibanez changing it so much either, it's the stores, saying, this is new, we can charge more for it probably (though this is purely speculation on my part)
Just like new cars, if I'd bought a 1999 firebird, instead of 1998 (which was the first year of that body style) I would have saved $3200 for the same options.