Holt's Story Grail Diary

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TomVDJ

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Little review of the Story Grail Diary I bought from Holt on the COW prop forum. First of all... It was A PAIN to get one! The run is going on for 3,5 years now and only two of these were actually shipped out. There were also months without communication with the creator. Holt had a pretty good reputation and was a staff member on the COW forum, but since this run got derailed so much, Holt lost his position in the COW staff.

Nevertheless, Holt did deliver my diary and one other (so far). All other people in the run are still waiting. But here it goes. Pictures say more than 1000 words, so I'll start with pictures. Is it a great looking diary? You bet it is! The cover is absolutely spot on! Never seen a better leather Grail Diary cover than this one:

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Then the inside: as said, it's a "story" Grail DIary, so it has pages that are also in the Hero Diary, and quite a few "invented" pages. All nicely aged with tons of inserts:

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This is a piece of art, that's for sure, but I also have some points of critique:

1. My biggest issue is that all inserts are glued in. I don't like this at all, and also asked if I could get them loose, but Holt refused this for some reason.
2. Not all insers are like I like them. For some of them I have better versions myself, but since they are glued in, I can not exchange them.
3. There were some options we could choose from (Venice knight with or without an X on top, map with no names ripped out or not, etc...) but my choices were not taken into account. Since I took over a spot in the run from someone else, Holt claims he just took into account the choices from the original buyer, but in PM's we agreed that he would take into account my choices, which didn't happen in the end. No biggy, but a bit dissapointing, since the waiting time was so lang, you would expect things to be correct. Anyway...
4. The elastic band is not accurate. it's too narrow. The screen accurate band should be 7 or 8 mm. This one is only 5. Not a biggy, since you can change it yourself.

In the meanwhile I exchanged some inserts and added one from myself, to be able to display the diary as seen on this picture (of the original):

Grail Diary.jpg


So I added my own more accurate LARY ticket and a the Washington Quote sheet (August Astrology sheet) that sticks out on top, and a wider band (this one is 10mm, so a bit too wide) to get this result in the end:

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Not too bad, I think.

So conclusion: Great diary, but it could have been better if the insers were not glued in, and my preferences would have been taken into account. In that case I would have forgiven Holt for the extreme long waiting time and the lack of communication. and would have given this diary a 95/100 score. But due to this two issues and the waiting time, I'd give the "experience" a 80 / 100 score.

I hope you guys enjoy the pictures, and I really hope all other buyers in the run on the COW forum will also recieve their diaries... once...
 

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Loneken

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Thanks for the review! I've been following the run on COW from a distance but glad to see the final results..

Do you own other grail diaries? Would you recommend another version over this one based on what you know now?
 

TomVDJ

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
If you want a really good diary and don't want to wait for 3 years ;-), I'd go for one of Sarednab's diaries (he offers both story and hero diaries) or one of DeMiguel (he only offers hero diaries, as far as I know). Both diaries have their own "characteristics" and it's really a matter of preference about which one you want:

1. Content of both diaries is extremely accurate, but the content of Sarednab is even more accurate than the content of DeMiguel, I'd say.
2. Pages of DeMiguel are on a slightly lighter weight paper than Sarednabs.
3. Pages of Sarednab's diary have a bit of a "wave" in it (due to the aging proces?). Seems to be similar to the original prop, but personally I don't like that much. I prefer the "flat" pages of DeMiguels. If you want to go for accuracy tot the original, you should go for Sarednab's.
4. The leather used by DeMiguel is a little bit thinner than the leather of Sarednab's. It gives de diary a tiny bit of another look.

I can not really tell you which of both I prefer. I own them both and like them equally. Don't know how they age the leather cover, because I asked both makers to not age it, since I like to do this myself (I like to age it to a degree that I prefer myself, and it's very difficult to explain to someone how I like the aging of the cover, so I prefer to do it myself). So when you want the cover aged by Sarednab or DeMiguel themselves, this might give you another result, probably, but I can not comment on that because I simply don,'t know.
 
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TomVDJ

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Glad you got yours. I would love one, these look so great.
I doubt that Holt will do another run after these are done. There was a list of 15 people that paid for a diary, and in 3.5 years only 2 are already shipped.

Original price for a spot in this run was $750. I was too late for a spot, but someone sold his spot because he was tired of waiting. I paid $850 for his spot. (Not too bad, because the spots in the second run, that will probably never happen, were $1200). On top of that, I also had to pay €50 import taxes. So all in all it costed me about €800 (or a little bit less then $950). Defenitely the hights price I paid for a diary.

Was it worht it? Probably yes, because like it looks now, these will be VERY rare and probably only increase in value. If my points of critique were met (Venice knight without he X, map with no names still intact, and inserts not glued in) I would DEFENLITELY have paid this price. But now, I don't know, actually...
 

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Onkelpsycho

Sr Member
Looks very nice...

I still miss my Magnoli story Diary. :confused: In my opinion it was one of the best diaries ever made. This diary looks very similar here and there.

I'm searching for a new diary for years now, but I was never completely conviced.

So there are no "loose" Inserts like the grail tab rubbing or the letters?
 

TomVDJ

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
No, there even isn't a grail tablet rubbing included. Only inserts that are loose are the blue LARY ticket, the Leap from the Lions Head page (not the spread, but the loose page), and a little invented insert with part of the double cross. All others are glued in (letters, maps, etc... while in my opinion Henry would NEVER glue in things like letters, etc...).

Do you happen to still have pictures of Magnoli's diary? Would love to see some pics of that one to compare...
 

Onkelpsycho

Sr Member
It's still on my yourprops Account, even if I don't own it anymore... but only 3 pics. Never had the time to take more and better pictures.


Selling this was the biggest mistake I've ever done, concernig this hobby. But back I wanted to help a friend with some financial issues, so... :(

Also checked ebay always for grail diaries with the hope one of them is maybe a magnoli or a close looking diary. But no luck till now. So the search goes on...
 

TomVDJ

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Looks like a nice diary indeed. Were the inserts loose in that one?

Have you contacted Magnoli to ask if he could make you another? If you sold it back in the days to help out a friend in financial need, then this is a very noble cause. Maybe this could persue Magnoli to make and sell you another story diary? Never hursts asking, right?
 

Onkelpsycho

Sr Member
Most Inserts were loose. Just a few were glued in. I really liked the grail tablet rubbing. It came also with 4 Letters to Henry complete with envelope, Note with the Roman numerals, teared out map and Hitlers signature.

Yes, I already asked, but no chance...

Because of legal issues and even if it were possible, he is busy with other things and the diary would take really much time to make, as he said.

But maybe sooner or later a grail diary pops up somewhere...
 

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TomVDJ

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I still have some spare grail tablet rubbings. I might put one in Holt's diary too. I bought these from COW member "Adventurer" for about $15 each, if I'm not mistaken.
 

Andre771

New Member
It's still on my yourprops Account, even if I don't own it anymore... but only 3 pics. Never had the time to take more and better pictures.


Selling this was the biggest mistake I've ever done, concernig this hobby. But back I wanted to help a friend with some financial issues, so... :(

Also checked ebay always for grail diaries with the hope one of them is maybe a magnoli or a close looking diary. But no luck till now. So the search goes on...
How does this one stack up?
 

Onkelpsycho

Sr Member
Very nice.

But it's a hero diary right? The book itself and the font is very clean, maybe a little bit too clean for me... i like it a liitle more aged.

But a very well made diary...
 

Dr Jones Sr

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
My biggest issue is that all inserts are glued in. I asked if I could get them loose, but Holt refused..

We agreed that he would take into account my choices, which didn't happen...

Considering how much you paid I think it's outrageous and unforgivable that you were treated that way.

Glued-in inserts? That's horrendous. Why?

The elastic band is not accurate. it's too narrow. The screen accurate band should be 7 or 8 mm.

Well, it's good to know that my cheap Grail Diary has at least ONE accurate thing!!
 

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TomVDJ

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Very nice.

But it's a hero diary right? The book itself and the font is very clean, maybe a little bit too clean for me... i like it a liitle more aged.

But a very well made diary...
I agree: the diary needs quite a bit of aging to look "right". Most people age the pages before binding them, but you might do it afterwards too. Take some sanding paper to the outer cover, I'd say. ;)
 

TomVDJ

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Considering how much you paid I think it's outrageous and unforgivable that you were treated that way.

Glued-in inserts? That's horrendous. Why?
Holt says it's his "style" and would not change it. I think the true reason behind is more that he is afraid that the inserts will be too easy to recast if they are not glued in or something? You could argue that glueing them in makes them stay in place, but to me it's more important that the diary looks "real". It doesn't make sense at all that Henry Jones would glue things over the precious info he wrote down in his diary.

Anyway, I agree with you: considering the price tag and the waiting time, I'd think it's more than fair to just take these requests in consideration. I would defenitely do this if I would do a run like that. It's just good customers service, I'd say.
 
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