We may never know the whereabouts of the true Holy Grail, but this prop can seed the imaginations of the faithful.
One day the props from the classic Indiana Jones series may be old enough to belong in a museum, but until then they go to the highest bidder. Today we’re looking at a sale by Heritage Auctions, the world’s largest collectible auctioneers, which sold the prop Holy Grail that was actually used in The Last Crusade, in 2022.
In the hit film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy faces his greatest obstacle when he has to select the true Holy Grail from a collection of cups meant to misdirect unsavvy visitors to its hidden shrine (which used Jordan’s Petra as a location). If he chose the wrong cup, as the villains who accompany him do, he would find not eternal life, but instant death.
Modern day movie fans didn’t have their lives on the line, with an array of replica grails also for sale on Amazon and Ebay, but they still had to choose wisely before committing to the prop’s starting price of $15,000. The piece eventually sold at Heritage for a reported $50,000.
Central to the plot of Paramount’s 1989 blockbuster, the Holy Grail is described by the auction house as “made of fiberglass/resin painted to resemble weathered earthenware or terracotta, with bright gold leaf finish on the cup’s interior and gold leaf patches embellishing the exterior.” In the film, the cup was made to look humble amidst the bejeweled chalices that give the impression they are fit for kings.
The prop comes with a certificate of authenticity, but it can be further identified by a crack through the bowl that was caused during production. This crack has been “expertly” repaired by Paul Robins, the prop maker who made this piece for the production. Robins was also the original owner of the prop grail.
The piece is scheduled to go up for bids on December 17, 2022, at 7 p.m. CST. While there have been no bids listed as yet, Heritage notes that the page has received more than 1,100 views and competition is expected to be fierce.
The real Grail
The whereabouts of the real Holy Grail, the cup or dish said to have been used by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper, are largely up for debate. Many cultures and nations have claimed to possess the grail over the years, but none of these have been officially recognized by the Church. Still, this has not stifled claims from some that they possess the genuine article.
Aleteia’s own Daniel Esparza outlined three such grails in 2021, when he reported on several grails in Spain that are suggested to be the real deal. One of these is in Galicia, another is in Valencia, and yet a third is on the Camino de Santiago, the most famous pilgrimage route in Europe.
While these are some of the most popular grails for pilgrims and curious historians, there are a few more claims to the true Holy Grail at churches in other parts of the world. We may never know exactly what happened to the cup that Christ held up at the Last Supper, but until then the prop of the holy grail can seed our imaginations.