That's almost the price I guessed. The collar makes a big difference and why do they do that? Another squeeze on finances. I hear some saying, "most hand holding 70-200mm f2.8 shooters swing the collar out of the way" in my book that's no excuse.
Some days I like and dislike Nikon in equal measures and today is one of them, like introducing a new model battery on the Nikon V2! They often tease us by never giving a full package.