Hi JohnRichard: The reason for the high prices -- although $1800 is excessive -- on a Speed + Aero Ektar are a) these lenses are getting hard to find, b) the lenses are currently much desired for their shallow DOF effects, and c) a fair amount of modification is needed to mount an Aero Ektar. Jo Lommen's informative website gives the details:
An example of Aero Ektar results:
The photographer David Burnett has used the Aero Ektar to great effect.