I can only guess that they did save money doing it that way?? I have seen one of the sandblasted RK's, and it would need a silver coating, seperately applied i reckon to get a shiney frame, thats one part of the process they skimped on, so a saving there! Then theres the sloppy paint job, they used to paint the cores before they assembled the cross, then they changed to painting after assembly, meaning that paint often caught the beading, but that still does'nt explain why the paint on older crosses is usually smooth and even, while on late ones its.......terrible!!! Must have completly changed the painting technique, again i guess to make more savings??
So if you add up those savings over thousands of RK's, i suppose it would save quite a few bucks!!