Church Finds Oil Landscape Painting, Nets $90K

A church that stumbled onto a valuable oil painting while cleaning out an old brick farmhouse more than 20 years ago has sold the work for $90,000.

Members of the Christ Congregational Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, found the painting in 1973 as they cleaned out a farmhouse in Yellow Spring, West Virginia. They initially thought the dust-covered 1870 landscape of a Maine mountain by Virgil Macey Williams was trash.

It was kept under a couch until a church member took it the Smithsonian Institution in hopes of learning more about it. Now identified as "View of Mt. Katahdin From the West Bank of the Penobscot River," the landscape was one of many painted in the mid-19th century of the Maine outdoors.

The church lent the Williams piece to the Smithsonian and a Montgomery County museum, and decided earlier this year to sell it.