1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Handsel
HANDSEL, the O. Eng. term for earnest money; especially in Scotland the first money taken at a market or fair. The termination sel is the modern “sell.” “Hand” indicates, not a bargain by shaking hands, but the actual putting of the money into the hand. Handsels 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.