I personally prefer the first series, but don't take that to mean that the 2nd series is less desirable - it's purely a matter of preference. I found the "Home" series just a little brighter, with a little more air, than the first series. The first series seemed to have a sweeter sound, maybe a little rolled off on top, more of that sound I often read people describing as "romantic". Depending on your room, equipment and music choice the slightly rolled-off nature of the first series may actually be less desirable so don't hesitate to try both if you get the opportunity.
Both have beautiful cabinetry, especially in walnut. The first series was susceptible to cracked rear speaker plates - they'd crack where the screws held the connection plates to the cabinets. The 2nd series had a different rear so that isn't a problem. So don't be surprised if it's hard to find a first series set with perfect rear panels.
You may have to go back a ways, but if you do a search there has been a good amount of discussion about series 1 vs. 2, so that should be helpful too. Either way, they both represent good value on the used market.
I've never heard the Josephs so can't help there.