I might be an ignoramuss as far as paperweights go but I have several pieces of paper, printed and sealed, that claims that some professors recon I know something about economics, foreign trade etc.
Your ebay friend might have got it wrong, in that the seconds were EXPORTED fom the UK. This would make economic sense as they would, theoreticlly at least, have a lower value and if you include the cost of shipping a large lump of glass across a vast ocean they could them sell on the other side for a similar price. It would not make any sense to export the A1 quality and keep the "rubish" unless there was a great disparity in the manufacturing cost and the potential earnings in foreign exchange, as was illustrated by KWV wines from South Africa in the '70's to the '80's.
None of the above is based on fact, just a theory based on staring in to my overly expensive cristal (bought on ebay for $0.99) ball!!!!
ps shipping was $4.99