Princess Diana's childhood book has sold for a whopping $6,200 as a collector snatched it up at auction. The 1949 first edition of Noddy Goes to Toyland, a popular story by Enid Blyton, clearly indicates its former owner as Diana inscribed her name on the inside in red ink sometime in the 1960s.
The book was sold alongside hardback editions of Noddy Had An Adventure and You Funny Little Noddy, which were owned by Diana's older sisters, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Jane Fellowes.
By 1975, the Spencer children had outgrown the books, and they were then passed on to footman Ian Scott Hunter. He had young children of his own, and the housekeeper of Park House on the Sandringham Estate, where Diana grew up, gifted them to him in a custom-fitted presentation box.
The three books have passed through the hands of several collectors since then.
"The books have great provenance and came with a letter saying they were originally acquired by Ian Scott Hunter, a footman in the Royal household," Richard Davie from International Autograph Auctions explained. "He was given the books by the housekeeper at Park House on the Queen's Sandringham estate. He had young children himself so was given these books and toys which the Spencer children no longer needed because they had outgrown them.
"Princess Diana is still a very popular figure with the British public and the collecting community. But the thing that's really interesting with this item is it's an early form of her signature and part of a royal princess' childhood.
"It's impossible to know for sure, but from her handwriting I would guess Diana was about five or six years old when she wrote her name in it. It sold for a great amount, three times the estimate, to a UK private collector."
Diana was born at Park House on the Sandringham estate and lived there with her family – closely allied with the royals for several generations – until her grandfather Albert died and her father John became the 8th Earl Spencer. They moved to the family seat in Althorp, Northants, when Diana was 14, and just six years later she married Prince Charles.