Obscure. Speculative. Panhandling always seems to involve a container for receiving loose change, so perhaps the term refers to a small handled pan, or to the container as the pan and the arm(s) holding it as the handle.
panhandler (plural panhandlers)
- One who panhandles; an urban beggar who typically stands on a street with an outstretched container in hand, begging for loose change.
- A bum.