Don't even think about the price of a NEW head, you don't want to know. There are good machine shops that can repair you head even if it takes welding.
These are aluminum heads so you don't need to be hefty to handle it.
If you are not an experienced knuckle buster, I agree that this would not be a good first DIY project. $1,500 is not a bad price, but see that the head surface is trued and valveguides replaced. In other words the $1,500 should not just be a headgasket replacement, but it should include a complete valve job. Don't even think about spending the money to have the head removed and replaced without doing the valve job while it's off.
Best of luck,