Getting a ‘Handel’ on a Valuable Lamp & Shade

Handel Shade

This Handle Company lamp, which was stored away for 40 years, emerged worth $1,000 to $1,500.

Every now and again we are asked about items that, at first glance, would be considered to be yard sale material or of just sentimental value. As an appraiser, first impressions of a antique or collectible are important, but must be backed up by proper identification and market research. Below is an item we have examined recently that was stored away for years; its identity and value unknown to its owner.

The piece in question is a flowered glass lamp shade and lamp (still packed away). The shade measures approximately 7 1/2 inches high by 5 inches wide. Upon further examination, it was found to be marked “Handel 7093.” To the general public the name “Handel” doesn’t mean much; the Handel Company began in 1885 as a partnership between Philip Julius Handel, age 19, and Adolph Eydam, age 21. The company, founded as Eydam & Handel, opened its doors in a small building located at the corner of Miller and Catlin Streets in Meriden, Conn. The company specialized in glass decorating and lamp manufacturing. In 1892, Eydam took a job at a rival company, at which point, Eydam and Handel became The Handel Company. In 1902, Handel opened a foundry, which allowed all lamp bases to be designed and produced in-house to compliment the lamp shades. The company closed during the 1930’s, a victim of changing styles and the Depression.

Today Handel lamps can be “the stuff of dreams” to dealers, who know the company as being one of the most famous producers of decorative lamps during the turn of the 19th century, and whose lamps can sell for more than $25,000. In the case of this small shade and the matching base, its value is not quite that spectacular, about $1,000 to $1,500 in today’s market, but not bad for something found stored away for 40 years.

Mike Wilcox
Wilcox & Hall Appraisers

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