Charity shop finds

I love charity shops. Our town has five, and my favourites are those run by the RSPCA and Break; both have that desirable combination of good prices plus good stock. I’ve had luck at St Peters Hospice shop as well, though they’re usually more pricey.

Today I’m going to share with you some of my charity shop finds, specifically pictures! You will note a theme…

First up, a set of watercolours by Danish artist Mads Stage.

Mads Stage - mouse and bunnies

Now are those little critters cute or what? When I bought these, I spent some time puzzling over the artist’s name, which I couldn’t quite make out. Never mind, they were adorable. I can’t remember exactly what I paid for them, I think it was around £1.50 each. That was about a year ago.

Then three months (-ish) ago, I found the two on the left, a hare and a hedgehog:

Mads Stage - hare, hedgehog and one other

They are also by Mads Stage. I think they have been butchered (cut down to fit a frame), particularly the hedgehog, as there is no signature on that one. The hare and hedgehog may even have been part of one painting which was cut apart (sacrilege, all). They were only around 75p each, if I recall.

About a month ago, I found the picture on the right above. (Anyone know what the creature is? I don’t.) It is a stoat (thanks, Koos!). Guess what, it’s by Mads Stage too! It was £1.50. I think it was trimmed as well, as the edges of the picture extend underneath the frame. I want to reframe those last three and put mats around them.

I actually didn’t realise until after I had bought all of them, that they were all by the same artist. So now I am officially a Mads Stage groupie.

Here is one more find. This was the most expensive at £5, but it’s an original by Cheng Yan. (Ya, I know, Cheng who? But he’s got his own web page and everything.)

Cheng Yan - cat and frog

Hahaha, that one makes me laugh.

Would love to hear about others’ charity shop bargains (hint, hint).


  1. What good finds – charity shops are just the best. I suppose my best bargains have been books – like really thick Gardening books and encyclopedias for a couple of quid!

  2. What a luck you found those beautiful watercolours of Mads Stage! I’m also a big fan of his work. That started when my dad got a Mads Stage calendar from a Danish company he worked with. As a child I was impressed by the nice drawings of fairytales on that calender.
    Unfortunately we don’t have a lot of charity shops in The Netherlands. But when I’m in the UK, I can’t resist them.
    My best bargains at the charity shops were different kind of books and table ware.

    • Vandaag 2 prenten in een mooi passe-partou van deze artist gevonden in een kringloop winkel. Ik had nog nooit van deze Mads Stage gehoord, maar vond de prenten schitterend.

      Hier in Nederland zijn er weinig charity-shops, maar de kringloop winkels zijn echt de moeite van het bezoeken waard. Prijs? 5 euro!


      • Translation (courtesy Google Translate):

        Today two prints in a beautiful passe-partou of this artist found in a charity shop. I had never heard of this Mads Stage, but found the prints beautiful.

        Here in the Netherlands there are few charity shops, but the charity shops are really worth a visit. Price? 5 euros!


  3. Paula — Can you believe that I found yet another Mads Stage watercolour a few months ago in a charity shop? Am I lucky or what!

    Do you still have that calendar?

    I love charity shops.

  4. Yes, you’re absolutely lucky in finding another watercolour of Mads Stage!!

    End of this year I’m going to the UK to see the area of Bath and of course also to visit charity shops. I hope to find a Mads Stage too!

    I still have most of the drawings of the calendar, which I framed as a child.

    If you like to see those drawings let me know. I can send (or upload?) some pictures.

    • Hi Paula,

      I know its years down the line but I was wondering if you ever went to Bath and also if you found a mad stage picture as I have come across one but dont know if its an original or a print its in an old frame


  5. Funny. I have five of Mads Stage watercolours. All famouse buildings in London. Gotta love charity shops


    • I don’t really know anything about valuing prints, but you can have a look on somewhere like eBay to see what the same or similar ones have sold for.

  7. I love the prints of animals which were brought from a charity shop it is very true you can find real bargains. I visit the charity shops in my area in Surrey once a week and have found some great bargains many times. I found a an Egyptian papyrus in a frame and only paid about £4.99p as i have a collection i reframed it and put it with my other Egyptian items. And regarding clothing i brought a lovely warm hiking jacket for £4.99p and a nice duffel coat for £12.99p and when i looked on the internet a similar type of jacket was about £40.00p the duffel coat looked like it had hardly been worn. I don’t go to charity shops because i don’t like spending to much money. I go because people give away sometimes very good items and the fact that when i buy items from the shops the money goes to a good cause.

  8. Carole — The papyrus sounds like a real steal. Great clothing deals as well. I like charity shops because older things are often better made or simply no longer available. So many good reasons to shop there!

  9. Hello,
    I think that the animal on the right picture is a Stoat.

    • Hi I found a Mads stage years ago in a charity shop of a Squirrel signed and professionally framed. I did not realise until today who he was. I will be looking for more too. By the way the animal in the right picture could be a Pine Martin, he did Paint in Scotland


  10. Hi, I have been given 7 Mads Stage prints, Tower of London,Portobello Road,st.Pauls catherdral, Buckingham Palace and one of a stag, a hare and 2 deer. They are beautiful I am hoping to get them valued and will let you know how I get along, Jan

  11. Koos — Thanks for the info!

    Janet — Ooo, lucky you. Please do let me know when you have them valued.

  12. Hi, I have a couple hand signed waiter colors from mads stage and wondering if you have ever determined a value for them.


  13. Hi Troy — I have not had my Mads Stage watercolours valued. You can sometimes find them on eBay, which may give a general guideline of their current value.

  14. I’ve just realised I have a Mags Stage too. Again like many I got it from a charity shop. It actually came free with another a book I bought. It’s a puppy and so very cute. The back is all sealed and a label with Diodge fine art on the back.

  15. I have 4 watercolors of Mads Stage buildings of London and they go for 50.00 to 250.00 on e-bay… I hope that helps you

  16. I have 7 Mads Stage watercolors of Denmark buildings & I too am a new fan. My aunt found 4 of them at a garage sale for about $1 a piece & I fell in love with them & she gave them to me. This weekend I found 3 more (1 is a large flower pic)at an estate sale—I am an addicted garage & estate saler & will be on the lookout for more Mads!

  17. I have a Mad Stage of a mouse, in the identical frame as your hare and hedgehog, so I don’t believe they have been cut down.

  18. I have 2 prints from mads stage..looked every where and cannot find those prints anywhere..deer prints. found others but not the prints I have. can anyone sugguest a good site to find all his work. I was handed down these prints. (Love them too)

    • I found a lovely Mads Stage print Goodwill shop in the USA. It cost me $5. It’s a scene from Georgetown DC.

      I can’t find any record of this print. Can anyone tell me how to tell a print from the original or where I can look to find it online.

  19. Found two beautiful songbird prints, signed, matted and framed, sealed backs, at a yard sale in Oklahoma in 2009. They are my very favorites. I knew they were something special when I first saw them. Thanks for the information!

  20. He is very talented! My wife just picked up 10 of his prints in mint condition from a garage sale (in NZ) for 30c each. Most were of wild flowers. Some were of various houses.

  21. i was given a mads stage by a friend it is three bullfinches ? in a blossom tree very pretty sheila

  22. Another mad junk shop fanatic here,I also bought a Mads Stage original watercolour of a hedgehog family for 50 pence last Sunday at our local car bot sale-he was prolific wasn’t he!

  23. Mads Stage died in 2004 there are literaly hundreds of thousands of his pictures done as prints and reprints the ones I have are identucal to the mouse in the top left but the colouring is different mouse is light brown .

    It could be that the basic sketch was printed and the colours washed in at a later date .

    Unless you have an original water colour I doubt they are worth much more than the glass in the frame .

    That said I find them delightful , especially the use of the catchlights in the eyes .

    I also hav e mother and fawn red deer mum facing to right fawn to the left .

    They are also in the same frames as the OP’s but my pictures are oblong measuring 30 mm x 36 mm long on the outside of the frame.. that extra space really makes the pictures outstanding to my way of thinking and it is what drew my eye to them.

    I only paid 40p in 1996 for both ,thinking I was going to use the frames for the family mugshots gallery , but when I saw the simplicity of them in good day light I decided that the lounge wall along with our 40 odd other natural history pictures would be their place instead.

    I have enjoyed reading about mads in this thread ..thanks all you guys & gsals for posting in it.

  24. Yesterday I was given the most beautiful picture of a ‘Cocker Spaniel’ (I own two of these lovely dogs) by my dearest friend for my birthday. I googled Mads Stage today as I must admit I had never heard of him and am now smitten by his work and will definitely be looking out for more of his wonderful pictures.

    I suspect my friend got this one from a Car Boot as I know she goes to one every Sunday. I go to one near where I live and am also a huge fan of Charity Shops so fingers crossed 🙂

  25. Patricia Deese

    I was so happy to see this blog when searching for Mads Stage information. I do love the animal prints. My husband was visiting New York City back in the 80’s and purchased one of his sketches. It is of the Brooklyn Bridge but has the Word Trade Center Twin Towers in the background. After the 9/11 attacks it was of special meaning to us. I was searching for sales info. in case we wanted to sell it. I was going ot put it on E-Bay, it seems a lot of you also like his work. Does anyone else have NY works?

  26. the picture you cannot identify is not a stoat but a pine marten

  27. Hi, have just found your blog, looking for any info on Mads Stage.I had 6 wonderful finds in the charity shops on Tuesday.First one was in Sue Ryder, two beautiful framed prints of hedgehog and squirrel these were £4.99 each. Thinking I had got a g reat bargain went to Help the Aged and found 1 more in a terrible frame of the three bunnies,that was £2.49.I also found a painting that my father in law had done quite a few years ago of a sailing ship. Its not brilliant but sentimental value..£1.49 that will go on the wall with his other paintings.
    Then I went over to Poole in the afternoon and believe it or not found two wall plaques one of a swan the other looks like an oyster catcher with 2 chicks. I cant believe how lucky I was to find all these prints by the same person. My husband loves them as well and will be putting them up at the weekend! Can I join you as a Mads Stage groupie too.! Meg.

  28. Hi Guys
    I have been a Mads Stage fan since way back in the 1970s, when I came accross a book of birds he had illustrated. A friend of mine was soooooo impressed he purchased 2 of the books & had every illustration framed & hung in his very large house in Ireland. I wish I could remember the name of the book, I think it was by Readers Digest but I’m not sure. If anyone knows more details, I would love to hear from them, so just reply here.
    Thanks for the great blog… it’s really good to hear there are still good charity shop & boot fair finds out there.

  29. Oh.. I would love a scan of the nature pics, if possible.

  30. So — I found a set of six Mad Stage original watercolor/sketches — they are original as the paper they are on is torn right out os a stetch book. I plan on donating them to a charity of some sort and an appraiser is coming to loo at them tomorrow — I will let you know what I find.

  31. I found two Mads Stage prints about 6 mnths ago, like you i didn’t know who had painted them, they both had the name on but i couldn’t decode, they were of a stag and a fawn, both in solid wood frames from C P productions LTD, only £2 each from a charity shop. I have come straight from a charity shop this morning where i found the same hedgehog print you have , but in the same solid wood frame as the other two, (yours does appear to have been butchered, such a shame) only £2 again! I began a search, found the artist name on a forum and have just found your blog! ….i seriously love these paintings and now will look for them always…from your pictures i can see others that i would like to seek out , its like a treasure hunt!

  32. I have a set of four Mads Stage limited edition prints of London (Buckingham Palace, White Tower, Houses of Parliament, St Pauls Cathedral). They were commissioned by BT for the covers of their London Telephone Directories (in the 70’s I think). I managed to get a set. They are now on my office wall and look great. I love them. No idea what they’re worth though.

  33. I recently came across 2 Mads Stage prints on our local charity online auction. I love these auctions, because they cant read the artists names, and you can get some really great bargains, they put down Mads last name was Stase (which I can see how they got that, lol). I got the Rabbid rabbit and the squirrel for $5.00 each. I love the auctions, my best deal so far was spending $20.00 on a picture of a limited edition native american picture by Peter Williams of the UK which is easily worth several hundred dollars now.

  34. I bought a mads stage original watercolour from my local charity shop its of the tower of London I have studied it for hours and I am convinced it is an original watercolour and not a print it is signed and dated 1976

  35. I found the 3 bunnies in an antique store in California.
    It has the Latin name for them and it is also signed and dated, (76). (However, it is only now that I have decyphered the artist’s name.
    I simply fell in love with the style and over the last few years I had picked up what I thought was just the same style. In fact as it turns out, taking a closer look at my decor – I am a fan of Mads Stage, too!

  36. hi guys , i have two framed mads stage items one is the mouse , the other , the pine marten , they look very old in the frames , what is the likelyhood of them being original ?
    thanks peter

  37. yep, im also a charity shop rooter and guess what ive a mads stage red squirrel that looks like an original signed and framed in an old wooden frame. Did this man ever sleep?

    • I am in Oregon USA. and today I found 2 gorgeous framed prints? (not sure yet)
      of the red squirrel and a young buck! I was at the Sunriver Nature Centers thrift shop. I paid $ 28.00 for the squirrel and $18.00 for the deer. Amazingly beautiful. I am hooked, now looking for more. I had to google hes name which I had a hard time 🙂

  38. dont know what they want me to do about my comment, im new to this computer world and could easily get lost in this vast unchartered territory. . . . I think im doin alright! nice meeting you guys. This is my first ever posting though ive a lifetime of thrify livin

  39. I have the hare painting. (Not buchered or cut up) I would send you a picture but don’t know how to upload pictures on here.

    • hi Sarah — I’ve since found an “unbutchered” hare painting at a charity shop, so I know how it is supposed to look! Thanks for the offer, and enjoy your Mads Stage 🙂

  40. Hi – I have the 4 Studies by Mads Stage. 2 are of Nyhavn and 2 of Kristianshave in Copenhagen, Denmark, they are from 1975 and 76. I have had them for many years and unfortunately they have gotten some mold on the top part of the prints where there are no drawings or color. How do I get it off ???? It looks like grayish fingerprints! Help please! Thanks in advance.

  41. Hello – I see you’re still receiving comments from your 2008 post of Mads Stage prints so thought I’d also add mine at this late date. I also came across two Stage prints in a local thrift shop here in the U.S. – my hometown of Asheville, NC. I loved them immediately because of the beautiful shades that will never go out of style! They are the two “Snipe” prints. They were already matted and framed, but thankfully in unaltered condition. I got them for $15 each, that’s a little over 9 pounds British Sterling each! My friends laugh at me because I’m hooked on “thrifty shopping”, and when I joyfully presented my new finds to them, they were just frankly puzzled. After I explained the artist and their worth, they stopped mid-smirk. I’m in the process of a DIY kitchen/dining remodel and these prints will be beautiful with my new browns, creams and golden yellows. I wasn’t keen on the frames the prints were in; they were in sad, sad condition, but with a little sanding and painting I was able to highlight some of the darker color in the prints. BTW: Here we have a great joke about “Snipe hunting”. To send someone on a “snipe hunt” was to send them for something that wasn’t in existence. Those youthful boy scouts and girl scouts (me) that were sent on a “snipe hunt” were expected to come back empty handed and just a little frightened of the “mysterious snipe”. When I grew older I was pleased to find that there was indeed a little bird called a Snipe! And that they usually migrate to my part of the U.S. from Canada in the winter months. So these prints add not only to my decor, but to my memories. I can’t wait until my guests discover that the little birds are Snipes!:) In the meantime, I’ll keep looking for more Mads Stage prints (they’re so lovely). And with luck I’ll find them at another bargain. And just to add….when I came across these at my local thrift my arms were full of other finds. They were so bulky I couldn’t carry them to the checkout for a cart. I hurried to the front of the store for a cart and by the time I returned another shopper had found where I had “stashed” them under more prints! I just knew she was gonna swipe them. I lingered close by, pretending to look at other prints and not showing too much interest otherwise I knew she’d snap them up! (You’ve seen that happen before I’m sure:) When she finally put them back I pounced on them and hurried to the check out! LOL That day I also found a new, (still in the unopened box) aged bronze wall lantern for my front porch for $16! It sells for anywhere from $50 – $168 up in retail. I just LOVE days like that! Good luck to you in your future great finds….Genie, USA

    • hi Genie — What a great find! And thanks for sharing your memories; I really enjoyed reading them. You’re so right about feigning disinterest in a bargain when you see someone examining something you want. Well done on a successful “hunt”, LOL. If you ever come to this side of the pond, be sure to bring lots of extra suitcases for all those charity shop finds!

  42. Hi -everyone I have also come across some Mads Stage prints – I have the 3 ‘bunnies’ and a Marmot? (both of these signed & dated but presume that they are only prints) and a fox and a fawn (head only) with just very faint signatures. I love them and keep a look out for any more of his works. Like others I took a while deciphering his name. The bunnies was my first find – in a church fair. The other 3 were on sale in our local market and I paid £7.50 for the 3.

    I now keep a look out for any more of his pictures as I love his style and hope I can add to my ‘collection’.

  43. Hello all… I stumbled across this thread while trying investigate Mads Stage. Reason i am researching is because i found a lovely cat sketch in a pine frame for 50p at a car boot sale, thought it rather unique and kept it (put it up a few weeks ago in fact). Then by chance at another car boot sale stumbled across another cat sketch, this one being £5 though but still. Being a cat lover i wanted to couple it with the other one. It was only when i get it home and put it up opposite my other one i realised the design and signatures matched on both prints. A lovely matching set! I love his sketches! Rather good prices too.

    Does anyone know if he did many more cat sketches? I’d love to keep my eye out for anymore if so.

  44. I have a mads stage print that I found at a garage sale many years ago. I have not seen this one illustrated anywhere. It has 1976 printed on bottom and is just printed “bullfinches. There are six birds, they look liked they are perched on a blueberry bush, not sure. Anyone seen one like this?

  45. We have two cat sketches by Madstage, glad someone else mentioned cats as no one else seems to have seen them, very cute drawings though and a great bargain (free!!!) x

  46. I have three of Mads Stage’s cat prints – a white/brown point Siamese with blue eyes, a white cat with gold eyes, and a gray cat with green eyes. I would love to know if there are different ones out there?

  47. hi i have a mads stags watercolour print of a horse some of the prints on ebay going for around 150

  48. Hej, jag har två stora med fågelmotiv och fyra små med skogsdjur på av Mads Stage. Alla har jag fyndat på auktion för länge sedan. Har även haft kakel med motiv av Mads Stage.

    Skulle vara kul om någon kan sätta värdet på de idag.

    • Hi all — I don’t read Swedish, but I’ve popped Inger’s message into Google Translate:
      Hi, I have two great with bird motif and four small forest with animals by Mads Stage. All I’ve found for sale some time ago. I’ve also had tiles with motifs of Mads Stage.
      Would be great if someone can put the value of today.

  49. lillian hamilton

    i have 4 print of mads stage tower of london .st pauls. london bridge. buckinham palace in frames from opp shop what are they worth

  50. I too like thrift shops and garage sales. I found a Mads Stage drawing of flowers and it looks like it was trimmed to fit a frame,it makes me wonder if that could be his style. I never heard of him, i just liked his work.

  51. I too found a beautiful print at a yard sale at lake of the ozarks missouri for a dollar. Mine also looks as if it has been butchered, maybe thats the way they are supposed to be. I am now a fan of his now. My picture is of flowers,wild flowers i think.

  52. I live in Perth Western Australia and found a set of three Mad Stage prints in a local charity shop. The images are in a wooden frame with a brown paper adhesive baking. They are of a Hare a Racoon and one other little creature. Yhey have a green/grey circular insert.It was hard to read the artists name.

  53. recently found x2 Mags pictures,both in charity shops. One in east sussex and the other in Kent 10weeks later.I love them .Both of aFox detail amazing. Had to do a bit of research to find out more.

  54. hi I’ve two amazing water colours of two Scottish castles “Duart ” and “Eilean Donan” by Mads Sage.

  55. My Danish wife found 3 Mads Stage prints of small mammals in a charity shop in Hythe, Kent on 22/08/12. There are 2 or 3 pictures of birds still for sale at about £2.99. We have no room for these! Go to Age Concern in Hythes High Street!

  56. Greetings from New York.
    Today at my favorite church-run thrift store, I found three Mads Stage framed watercolor prints for $8.00 total. They are of a squirrel, three bunnies and a mouse. The latter two are dated 76.
    Must have more!!!

  57. alice avery struthers

    I learned about Mod Stage when my neighbor brought in a print with that “signature.” Her cat had chewed down one side of the paper. We researched the name and hoped to find another similar print, “Roses in Jar.” So far, no luck. I will help her frame the poor injured picture, it will be a conversation piece! And we have extended our education in art. On my many trips to the UK I have enjoyed shopping in the charity shops.

  58. Hi, I think I have 2 Mads Stage watercolours but how do I make sure
    they are not prints. I bought them months ago in Melbourne. Cheers!

  59. I have just bought from an Op shop a Mads Stage cat print,think it called Hares. Problem is that Op shops are now using social media to check out the stuff they sell and pricing them accordingly!!

    • Not at the op shop I was at yesterday, two beautiful prints of London. One of Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament, signature on both very hard to decipher so have spent ages trying out different letters, gave up at midnight and this morning in the sunlight have managed to figure out they are Mads Stage.
      Had no idea about them but they had the price reduced from $5 to $2, beautifully framed and I bought the because they were beautiful. I am delighted to find information about the artist. Thank you.

  60. Hi all I have started collecting Mads stage prints and I like them to be in all the same frame which is a thick wooden frame with a gold band on the inner edge PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE can anyone tell me where to get hold of these frames as I have more prints to frame up, thanks all

  61. I’m a thrift store addict as well and today found 2 beautiful swan Mads Stage professionally framed lithographs both in color. One has his signature signed with a pencil but not numbered. The other is his printed signature. I don’t want to tear open back of frames as the frames are very nice. Does anyone know what their called? Can’t seem to find his swan prints. Only mallard duck prints. They are definitely vintage and have been professionally framed. Absolutely gorgeous!

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