The good news is that most anything marked as a Handel lamp is usually authentic. The bad news is that not everything is marked. Occasionally detective work needs to be done in order to determine the authenticity of a lamp.
If your lamp is marked with a four digit number, then search our site for that number. We have images and descriptions of 500 different numbered Handel lamps. If the number matches our lamp, then what you have is 99% likely to be authentic. Here is a list of several authentic Handel marks. There are some numbered lamps that aren’t on our site. Please contact us if you can’t find your number, or your numbered shade looks different than the one we have posted.
Assuming your lamp isn’t marked, then we have to move onto other steps to figure out if it is authentic. Assuming you have a table lamp with a large painted glass shade, then your shade should measure as 14, 15, 15.5, 16, or 18 inches. The smaller boudoir lamps can be 7 or 10 inches. Long story short, if diameter of the shade is significantly different than the measurements above, then you should be extremely skeptical about the lamp. (The shade sizes for Teroca lamps are 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, and 22 inches.)
Handel also only used a couple dozen different heat cap and finial designs. Keep in mind that different finials were used for different heat caps; there are lots of combinations. If your heat cap is totally different than the one in our gallery, you should be skeptical about the lamp.
Handel also only used a few different pulls. Pulls break and get replaced, so just because you don’t have a pull featured on our Handel pulls page, does not mean that your lamp is fake. However, if the pulls do match, then it is a good sign that the lamp is authentic.
Don’t forget to check the bulb socket arrangement. If your socket is done in the Hubbell ball and stem style, then there is a good chance you at least have an original base. However, too many people focus on their lamp base. The lamp base is not terribly important. You can learn more about Handel bases here. The base should never be used as a way to authenticate the shade. There are plenty of authentic bases with reproduction shades; and there are plenty of authentic shades with reproduction bases.
In addition to the shade size, heat cap, and pull, you need to take a critical look at lamp’s artistic merits. All Handel lamps are hand painted. You should be able to see small brush strokes. Plenty of lamps are made today, and 100 years ago, that have styles similar to Handel. However, most lamps won’t have the quality of an original Handel Lamp.
If you have some specific questions about your lamp, then please ask. We will happily share our opinion for free.