HANDSEL, the O. Eng. term for earnest money; especially in Scotland the first money taken at a market or fair. The termination set is the modern " sdL" " Hand " indicates, not a bargain by shaking hands, but the actual putting of the money into the hand. Handsets were also presents or earnests of goodwill in the North; thus Handsel Monday, the first Monday in the year, an occasion for universal tipping, is the equivalent of the English Boxing day.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)