When the First World War broke out, the relationship between Serbia and the Austrian medal-making firms who manufactured so many of their best quality orders and medals was severed for good, and so production shifted to Switzerland and France for the duration. This example, of the Serbian Order of the White Eagle, was made by Huguenin Freres, in Switzerland. From its inception in 1883 and up to 28 May 1915, the Order of the White Eagle was awarded to both worthy civilians and military people for special service to the Serbian nation, state, or Crown. After that date, there were two divisions of this award, those of the older, existing design, which would continue to be awarded to civilians, and the newly-established military division, which had a pair of crossed-swords added between the top of the eagle’s heads and the crown. To recap, if awarded before 28 May 1915, this pictured version of the Order of the White Eagle may have been awarded to either a military or civilian recipient and, after that date, this type would have been awarded to civilians only. The white case for this medal has the Serbian Cyrillic text ‘БЕЛИ ОРАО’, which transliterates to ‘Beli Orao’, which translates to ‘White Eagle’, and the class, ‘V’ as a Roman numeral, indicates that this is a fifth class version of this award, which was awarded in five classes. Also shown is a miniature version of the award. Of possible interest also is a small miniatures set, showing the French Legion of Honour and Order of Academic Palms, plus a Serbian Order of the White Eagle. Of note are the 8 silver thread bars on the Serbian award, backing the central rosette on the ribbon, which denotes certain rank or achievement by the recipient.
Serbian Order of the White Eagle in original case, with miniature of the same. A French miniature medal set consisting of a French Legion of Honour and Order of Academic Palms, plus a Serbian Order of the White Eagle.