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The Polish coat of arms is an eagle on the red field (background):

enter image description here

In Poland it is always said that it is a White Eagle. This is mentioned in current Constitution (translated by me):

Art. 28. Godłem Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej jest wizerunek orła białego w koronie w czerwonym polu.
Article 28. Picture of a white eagle with a crown on the red field is the coat of arms of the Republic of Poland.

Almost the same is in the Coat of Arms, Colors and Anthem of the Republic of Poland, and State Seals Act:

Art. 2. Godłem Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej jest wizerunek orła białego ze złotą koroną na głowie zwróconej w prawo, z rozwiniętymi skrzydłami, z dziobem i szponami złotymi, umieszczony w czerwonym polu tarczy.
The coat of arms of the Republic of Poland is a picture of the white eagle with a golden crown on his head, turned right, with spread wings, a golden beak and claws, placed on the red field.

(Flag colours, white and red, are directly taken from the coat of arms colours).

As rules of heraldry say, there is no white colour, but silver is represented as white:
Source 1:

The coat of arms is centered on a shield (...) There are five colors which are called tinctures. There are also two metals and several furs. Gold (Or) can be depicted as yellow and silver (Argent) is depicted as white. (...)

Source 2:

The basic colour palette: The two metals are silver and gold (white and yellow)

Source 3:

ar•gent (ˈɑr dʒənt)
n.
1. the heraldic color silver or white.
2. Archaic. the metal silver.
adj.
3. silvery; silvery white.
[1400–50; late Middle English argentum < Latin: silver, money]

Some years ago I read somewhere that there are two exceptions for the rule that white is silver (argent), the one is the Polish eagle and the other is... I forgot. I'm only sure this was some important country.


Up to now I've avoided citing Wikipedia, but it seems to be necessary :-(


Arthur Charles Fox-Davies has argued that in extremely rare circumstances, white can be a heraldic colour different from argent. He bases this in part on the "white labels" used to difference the arms of members of the British Royal Family. However, it has been argued that these could be regarded as "white labels proper", thus rendering white not a heraldic tincture. In Portuguese heraldry, white seems to be regarded as a tincture different from argent, as evidenced by the arms of Santiago do Cacém, in which the white of the fallen Moor's clothing and the knight's horse is distinguished from the argent of the distant castle, and in the arms of the Logistical and Administrative Command of the Portuguese Air Force. source

All the sources cited in the text above are however obsolete. The reference to Mr. Arthur Fox-Davies is I think his private opinion (he argued...). However after reading this I'm not sure if the second exception mentioned some paragraphs before was Portugal.

My questions are:

  1. Is the eagle of Polish coat of arms white or silver?
  2. If yes, it's white, is Portugal white this other exception or are there any other countries? (I remember it being important country, but I don't know if it still exists. I consider Portugal being an important country)
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As a side note, similar (but not the same) eagle was in CoA of Duchy of Mazovia (and today Mazovian Voivodeship). Link to Polish Wikipedia, where it however is referred as being silver. The same here –  Voitcus Jul 4 '13 at 12:28
3  
+1 for turning to Wikipedia only as a last resort! –  Eugene Seidel Jul 4 '13 at 12:52
    
+1 for well researched Q –  DVK Jul 5 '13 at 14:12
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