BURIED in a wastepaper bin, it looked like any other Christmas card thrown away at the end of the festive season.
But on closer inspection it emerged it had been signed by one of the 20th century’s most famous personalities.
Now the card, from Princess Diana to an unnamed Borders family, is to go under the hammer and is expected to fetch hundreds of pounds after it was rescued from the bin by a city cleaner.
The sale begins at around noon tomorrow, with auction house Shapes in Sighthill expecting interest not only from the floor but across the world as it is touted online simultaneously.
Head auctioneer and valuer Gavin Lindsay said the story behind the card added to its mystique.
He said: “It’s nice to see someone who is effectively on the bottom rung of the ladder receive something so personal from someone right at the top.
“It’s a picture of family life, from perhaps a happier time for them, a more romantic period, and I think you can see that, the vision of a happy family.
“Princess Diana is always going to be a source of interest and I don’t think this will be any different.
“The fact it was saved from the rubbish bin as well makes it all that more special I think.”
It is understood the card, which has a royal seal on the outside with a photograph on the inside of Princess Diana with sons William and Harry, along with Prince Charles, was sent to the owner of the home.
When the owner died, family began clearing it out with the help of the cleaner, who asked if she could keep the card when she saw it destined for the rubbish. She passed it on to her daughter, who wishes to remain anonymous, who gave it to Shapes to sell.
Mr Lindsay added: “The lady who worked as a cleaner asked to have it just as a keepsake from her time at the house.
“At the moment we are looking at between £200 or £300, but once the interest gets going it could reach far higher than that.
“I think the fact it comes with a very genuine story helps that too.”
The card features Diana’s handwritten message: “To you both, with our love from Diana,” as well as a printed message wishing the recipient “a very happy Christmas and New Year”.
Tomorrow’s sale is due to begin at 10am, with the Christmas card due to go under the hammer between 11.30am and midday. For more information, or to take part online, visit www.shapesauctioneers.co.uk