Handel Cattail Table Lamp

Handel Lamps | Auction, Appraisal & Sell

Whether you would like to sell your Handel lamp at auction, utilize our private sale service, or receive an appraisal, Fontaine's Auction has the service and expertise to assist you. With over six decades of experience appraising and conducting auctions, you can trust we'll provide an accurate and professional service.

Click here to view the Handel Lamps book, authored by John Fontaine, owner of Fontaine's Auction Gallery.

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A Guide to Handel Lamps

Handel lamps are known for their exceptional craftsmanship and beauty, with distinct round, conical-shaped shades that are reverse painted with detailed scenes. These lamps captivated the buyers of their time and continue to pique the interest of antique shoppers today.

If you're wondering where to sell your Handel lamp, Fontaine's Auction Gallery is an ideal choice. We have international experience and extensive knowledge of the antique market to help you achieve the best price for your lamp.

Growing Popularity of Antique Handel Lamps

When people think of antique glass shade lamps, Tiffany Studios lamps often come to mind. But Handel lamps are also beautiful and have grown in popularity in the antique market for several reasons.

  • Rarity: There are not as many Handel lamps as other types of antique lamps. The ones that do exist vary greatly in terms of the scenes they depict, so there is a greater chance that the lamp may be unique or unusual.
  • Quality: Handel lamps are hand-painted and expertly crafted from high-quality glass with a zinc alloy or bronze base. The art of reverse painting is also highly precise, as it requires the artist to paint on the back of the glass panel so it can be seen correctly from the front. Craftspeople using this method paint details first, usually one color at a time.
  • Intricate design: Despite the painstaking painting process, Handel lamps feature intricate scenes with popular motifs, including ships, parrots and ancient ruins.

History of The Handel Company

Philip J. Handel established The Handel Company in 1885 in Connecticut and began creating glass lamps that were seen as a less expensive alternative to Tiffany Studios lamps.

In 1890, Handel opened a retail showroom in New York City, and by 1902 the company expanded to begin producing its own bases. By this time, Handel had assembled an impressive group of craftspeople and artists to produce the lamps. The World War I era was a period of tremendous growth for the company as it brought new types of lamps to the market and did some of its best work.

When the Great Depression hit, The Handel Company struggled to stay in business and officially closed in 1936.

During their heyday of the early 1900s, Handel lamps were popular throughout the country due to the company's extensive marketing efforts. Today, these lamps are highly sought-after in the antique market for their quality and unique painted scenes.


Handel "Venetian Harbor" Table Lamp

Types of Handel Lamps

Handel lamps fall into three distinct categories based on their shade:

  1. Painted: Reverse-painted and obverse-painted shades are the most distinct type of Handel lampshade and feature detailed, nature-inspired scenes. Most authentic painted shades from Handel are signed using a dark-colored felt pen around the bottom of the inside of the shade.
  2. Teroca: Teroca or metal overlay lamps were made with a stylized metal overlay placed over the glass.
  3. Mosaic: Handel's mosiac glass shades feature colorful designs and geometric shapes. They can be difficult to authenticate because they were rarely marked.

There are also different types of Handel lamp styles:

  • Table lamps: These lamps are just under 2 feet tall with a wide shade of around 18 inches.
  • Boudoir lamps: Handel's line of smaller lamps known as boudoir lamps have 7- or 8-inch shades, making them well-suited for a small nightstand.
  • Standing floor lamps: These lamps are usually 54 to 57 inches tall with a shade that sits like a hanging bell.
  • Egg lamps: Shaped like an egg, these lamps often come in pairs.
  • Hanging glass globe: These globes typically feature painted birds.
  • Piano lamps: These are small lamps best suited for a desk or piano.
Antique Handel table lamp

Handel Scenic Piano Lamp


The value of Handel lamps varies greatly. In general, Handel's mosiac lamps are the least valuable — often because they are harder to authenticate — but there are exceptions to this rule. To know the lamp's worth with certainty, it must be professionally evaluated. If you're interested in consignment for Handel lamps, we have the services you need.

Fontaine's Auction Gallery will provide you with a Handel lamp appraisal free of charge. Our specialists pay close attention to the size of the lamp, its condition and the scene depicted. To receive your appraisal, you can schedule an in-person evaluation, email us information and photos, or submit our auction estimate form.

If you want to auction off your Handel lamps, we will put them up for sale during one of our live, global auctions, which command strong bids for Handel lamps. Once your lamp sells, you will receive payment from us as soon as possible. We will also handle the logistics of transporting the lamp to the buyer.

Handel Cattail Table Lamp

Handel Cattail Table Lamp

Consign Antique Handel Lamps With Fontaine's Auction Gallery

If you are wondering where to sell your Handel lamp, Fontaine's Auction Gallery is an exceptional choice. Consignors choose us for our:

  • Global audience. Anyone in the world can bid in our auctions, whether they are in person, online, over the phone or absentee.
  • One flat fee. To keep things as easy and straightforward as possible, we charge one flat fee for our services rather than many individual fees for photography, transportation and insurance.
  • Marketing. We begin our marketing efforts weeks ahead of other major auction houses to build the buzz early and generate the maximum amount of interest in your item.
  • Customer service. We do everything we can to make working with us a smooth experience. We will walk you through each step of the process and help you achieve the greatest value for your Handel lamp. We can also transport your lamp for you and keep it in a secured, fully insured area of our gallery, so you know it is safe.

Whether you're interested in selling your Handel teroca or painted lamp, Fontaine's Auction Gallery can help. We have served buyers and sellers in the auction market for more than 50 years, and we continue to successfully sell antique Handel lamps at auction.

If you would like more information about Handel lamp consignment with us, contact us today.

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Handel Lamps Book

The Handel Lamps Book

Authored by John Fontaine, Owner of Fontaine's Auction Gallery