I have two large bureaus in my bedroom that belonged to my grandparents in the 1960s. The drawer handles have become very worn and tarnished over the past 40 years, so I removed one and took it to the hardware store in hopes of getting advice about metal polish.
The hardware store employee showed me the dull, black backside of the handle and informed me that they were lacquered "pot metal," and could not be polished. I asked him for other ideas and he suggested spray paint. I removed all of the handles, sanded them down so the paint would take to the surface.