Who hasn’t seen it? Or at least heard of it? Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, THE legendary movie starring Harrison Ford and Sean Connery and, of course, the Grail Diary. Find out what you need to pay attention to if you are about to buy a diary replica.
What the Grail Diary is all about
In the movie, Indiana Jones receives the diary by mail from his father, Henry Jones. With that, the adventurous journey for the Holy Grail begins. Throughout the whole adventure, the diary is an essential part of the story. If you have not seen the movie yet, I highly recommend it.
First of all, let me say that I was thrilled when I saw it. I even didn’t know that replicas of the diary are available. A few days later, the journal had crossed the English Channel, and the postman handed it over to me. What should I say? It was love at first sight.
Well… the diary, not the postman.
What Indiana Jones’ Diary contains
There are three types of diaries, the content of which can differ considerably.
- Only blank pages. You can use them as a notebook. Or as a diary (No kidding). This is the low-cost version.
- Only with pages that are shown in the film. That is, only a few unique, repetitive pages, interspersed with blank pages – The pure doctrine.
- A version with additional content that is not directly part of the movie. Nevertheless, it fits well into the diary and in combination with the original pages, tells the story of Henry Jones’ quest for the Grail. You can read it like a regular book. These are called “Story Diaries” and contain more than 200 pages. There are several versions of the story, which are only slightly different.
I like the latter one best since it is literally a real journal. Be aware that due to Henry Jones’ handwriting it could get a little tedious for non-native speakers to read. Fortunately, there are translations on the Internet that help you follow the story – It is worth reading it because it clarifies a few things not shown in the movie.
Grail Diary Inserts
Between the pages, you can find inserts, things that look like they have been collected over time. They are remarkable because they make the diary an authentic experience. As you can see below, they are banknotes, tickets, telegrams, maps, etc..
One thing that should not be missing is the drawing Indiana Jones makes of the crusader’s shield in the catacombs of Paris. This drawing is something you should check before you buy a copy. Some diaries contain only a small version which is made of ordinary paper. The one you see here has a size of 80 x 60 cm (32 x 24″) and is made of a special paper, which makes it almost feel like a real rubber paint.
These are by far not all the inserts you can find. There are diaries without any inserts, but they feel like something is missing. Others are full of them which makes each one feel a little mundane because there are so many of them. The books mostly contain between 15 and 30 inserts – each one a small piece of art.
What you should pay attention to
Diaries on the market come with an imitation leather cover that more or less resembles the cover in the film. Rarely real leather is used. Cheap ones, on the other hand, have often covers that look like a hardcover – They are missing the authentic feeling. The bindings are pretty stable since the books are very thick, you should be careful anyway.
The pages are made of rather thick paper that looks historical and is deliberately aged with coffee. In this Youtube video, you can see how this is done. Though the content is mostly printed, you can only see that by examining it very closely. There are handwritten variants, but they are much more expensive.
Apart from regular pages, many are wonderfully illustrated or have other supplements. All in all, it feels very “genuine” holding it in your hands.
Prices of Grail Diaries
The prices range from €10 ($12) for only blank pages, plastic cover, no inserts up to €200 ($220) for a Story diary, cover in real or imitation leather, many inserts. Of course, you can spend much more money, but in my opinion, paying more doesn’t add much value. Even €200 ($220) is at the very top of the range. On the other hand, I advise against offers that are too good to be true – 200 pages, 40 inserts for €30 ($33) – They are indeed too good to be true.
My Copy of the Diary Replica
It cost €150 ($160) without shipping – with shipping it came to a total of €165 ($180). It contains 230 pages and 25 inserts. The quality is excellent. What I like ist that it is obviously made with love. From the moment I held it in my hands, I thought it was a bargain.
Who this Prop Replica of the Diary is made for
You should buy a Grail Diary prop of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade if
- your husband/wife/father/mother/child/grandchild/colleague/whatever is an Indiana Jones-fan, and you are looking for a present for a birthday, Christmas, or whatever.
- you are an Indiana Jones fan yourself, and you are passionate about movie props that feel authentic.
- you like movie props at all.
If you decided that you need one, there are several places to buy one – Amazon, eBay, etsy.com, etc.. Since there are a lot of variants on the market and everyone has their priorities, I can’t tell you which one you should buy exactly. Take the following points into consideration:
- Don’t pay more than 150 Euro (~ 170 $).
- Take a Story Diary because they provide you the most content (see the types in the content section above).
- Do cover and pages look movie’ ish? What material is it? Check also pictures of the offer, don’t rely on the description.
- Have a look at the inserts. How many are there – Usually it is between 15 and 30.
- As always: What do other buyers say? But read their thoughts carefully – Sometimes they complain about absolutely unimportant details.
Hopefully, this post provides you valuable information. Or give you a taste for what’s out there 🙂 If you have further questions, either contact me or, even better, write a comment.