With respect to the wing at the very top of this thread, I noted in a different thread (referring to this style wing):
...the recent mustache wing discussed here on the forum. It is a fence-sitter. That is to say that it has good points and, if not actually bad aspects, points that might give some collectors pause.
One thing I always try to stress to new collectors is the asset-like nature of collectibles. If you are looking for an investment, look elsewhere; the collectibles marketplace is far too unpredictable--frankly, there are much better investments.
Collectibles, on the other hand, are a pretty sound asset. As such, collectors should always try to de-link their emotions from the hobby [hard, I know!] and keep a thought to the eventual liquidity of the asset. That is; how quickly, if required, can the item be turned back into cash--at the same value? Fence-sitters, may be just as real as their slam-dunk counterparts, but because they have lower demand, supply and demand laws kick in and they end up being less liquid; harder to quickly turn into cash--unless sold at a discount price.
Much of that also applies to the wing you asked about. Looking at the auction results, The Dallas wing, at the same auction, sold for about normal market value (considering the missing leather back piece, additional ancillary material, and accounting for the 28% commission) so some knowledgeable collectors were apparently watching the various lots. The results for this particular wing could thus be interpreted as instructive. However, I happen to believe that the purchaser got a pretty good bargain. Like Patrick, I feel that this is likely a period wing, but I also believe it to fall in the category of; "fence sitter."
The auctioneer's comments of: "it shows every sign of being die struck..." notwithstanding (its not), the construction techniques (cut silver sheet and hammered details) and findings are generally representative of what could be expected to be found on a WW1 era wing of this style. Stylistically, the badge does exhibit certain design elements that put it squarely at the tail end of the Art Nouveau (pre Art Deco) period--also to be expected. However, where this particular badge loses points is in the skill of its execution.
Patrick noted that these (any WW1 wings, really) should show; "a certain amount of skill." I concur!
The artists plying their trade in the jewelry business after the turn of the last century had normally apprenticed for a decade or more in pursuit of their trades. The almost crude workmanship of this badge is not generally what one would expect to see from such craftsmen. To paraphrase a question often asked by Duncan Campbell; when they could easily, and inexpensively, buy this:
does the badge in question measure up? To me, in the case of these two very similar moustache-badges, the workmanship is just crude enough to give me pause. Would a WW1 pilot spend a significant portion of his monthly salary on this wing?
If you go to a "Dollars now, versus Dollars then" calculator on the web, you can approximate that some of these silver pilot wings cost a 2nd Lieutenant in 1918 the equivalent of about $200 in 2018 money. So following Duncan's line of reasoning; "Does this badge measure up?" For this one, its a tough call. Were these semi-crude, mustache-badges made to be a cheaper option to the more expensive wings made by jewelers such as Eisenstadt or Sweeney? We'll likely never confidently know the answer to that question.
So, like Patrick, I have some comfort that this happens to be a period badge... Or, perhaps, in my assessment, the positives slightly outweigh the negatives. It is not a slam dunk--by any means. There is just enough going for it though to lead me to that conclusion. But I also think that its status as a "fence sitter" impacted the price that it sold for and, importantly, will sell for--at some future date.