Very true, saying that iv seen some cheap (ish) les pauls recently but they have all had issues such as cracked headstock and been repaired and usually repared very well. But i wouldnt want to pay good money for one thats had repairs -im a bitch like that!!
Again - go for Big Norms!!
PS - im sure skodster did a review vid of them Signiture Les Pauls - check youtube
I'd recommend scanning ebay for a Studio, mid-90s if possible. I managed to pick up a white Studio with gold hardware and ebony fretboard for under £500, and it is stunning. Go Gibson, you won't regret it, in my experience anything else is a compromise.