An Edward Weston print a photographer bought for $10 at a gallery in 1927 is set to raise up to $500,000 at auction.

A young photographer called Bernice Lovett snapped up the print of Weston?s now famous Nautilus Shell image on a visit to San Francisco?s East West Galleries.

?Unable to pay the entire cost of the photograph at once, Ms Lovett paid for it in monthly 50-cent instalments,? said a spokesman for Sotheby?s New York.

The photo, which has remained in the Lovett family?s possession for over 80 years, went on to become one of Weston?s most well-known images.

It has never before appeared at auction and is estimated to raise $300,000-$500,000, according to Sotheby?s.

?The print offered by Sotheby?s is the ideal early state of the image, on matte-surface photographic paper, affixed to a large mount that bears Weston?s early pencilled signature.?

The picture will be auctioned in New York on 13 April as part of Sotheby?s 244-lot Photographs sale which is estimated to rake in up to $5.1m.

Picture credit: Sotheby’s New York

Weston's Shell photo