A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“Phony as a three-dollar bill” ("Queer as a three-dollar bill") (8/24)
Newsie (newspaper seller) (8/24)
“Cut up like boarding house pie” (many small pieces) (8/24)
“Only angry people win football games” (8/23)
Newsie (newspaper seller) (8/23)
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Entry from August 24, 2016
“Phony as a three-dollar bill” ("Queer as a three-dollar bill")

Entry in progress—B.P.

Wikipedia: Fake denominations of United State currency
$3
Although various US states printed $3 bills before the unification of the currency, no US$3 bills have ever been printed. However, various fake US$3 bills have been released over time, generally poking fun at politicians or celebrities such as Richard Nixon, Michael Jackson, George W. Bush, both Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama in reference to the idiomatic expression “queer as a three-dollar bill” or “phony as a three-dollar bill”. In the 1960s, Mad printed a $3 bill that featured a portrait of Alfred E. Neuman and read: “This is not legal tender—nor will a tenderizer help it.” Mad writer Frank Jacobs said that the magazine ran afoul of the US Secret Service because the $3 bill was accepted by change machines at casinos.

Dictionary.com
queer as a three-dollar bill
adverb
Obviously homosexual •Usu considered offensive

The Free Dictionary
*phony as a three-dollar billand *queer as a three-dollar bill
phony; bogus

3 June 1942, Charleston (SC) Evening Post, “Today’s Sport Parade” by Jack Guenther (U.P.), pg. 9, col. 3:
Today the player who has held his position with the same team for as long as three seasons is as rare as a three-dollar bill.

6 October 1943, New York (NY) Times, “American Returns, Defies China Lure” by Brooks Atkinson, pg. 15, col. 3:
Transportation in China being as scarce as a three-dollar bill, the pressure to ride in these transports is tremendous ...

14 January 1945, Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock, AR), “Weary-Go-Round” by Hardy “Spider” Rowland, pg. 11, col. 7:
However, if anyone wants to wager that at least one of the accounts wasn’t wrong as a three dollar bill, please get in touch with me.

2 October 1945, Washington (DC) Post, “Planes Dropped Phony Money to Japs as War Ended,” pg. 4, col. 7:
Stage money—as phony as a three dollar bill—was one of the psychological weapons used by the Allied forces in the closing days of the Japanese war.

12 December 1946, Chicago (IL) Daily News, “In the Wake of the News” by Arch Ward, sec. 4, pg. 59, col. 2:
Add Similes
As phony as a three dollar bill.
-- Frank D. Reid

8 September 1952, Boston (MA) Daily Globe, “The Caine Mutiny” by Herman Wouk, pg. 12, col. 3:
“Hell, don’t take anything Tom says too serious. Tom’s queer as a three-dollar bill.”

5 April 1953, Boston (MA) Sunday Advertiser, “Tommy COllins Puts i in Acton” by John Gillooly, pg. 29, col. 7:
“Some of these people, especially visiting reporters and photographers who don’t know me, must think I’m queer as a three-dollar bill.”

29 September 1957, Indianapolis (IN) Star, “Arkansas 1st Issued ‘Confederate’ Money” by Jim Buck, sec. 8, pg. 4, col. 4:
But strangely enough, the $3 bill which almost every state has printed, has never been approved by the Federal Government. Thus we find the expression, “strange as a three dollar bill.”

OCLC WorldCat record
Queer as a three dollar bill.
Author: Ken Wood, (Illustrator); Lesbian/Gay Freedom Day Committee (San Francisco, Calif.),
Publisher: San Francisco : Lesbian/Gay Freedom Day Committee, [1981] ©1981.
Edition/Format: Image : Picture : Artwork reproduction : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Bring him back dead
Author: Day Keene
Publisher: Blue Ash, Ohio : Prologue Books, ©1984.
Series: Prologue Crime.
Edition/Format: eBook : Document : Fiction : English
Database: WorldCat
Summary:
He was as rare as a three-dollar bill ... an honest man in the town of French Bayou - that was crowding Phenix City out of corruption’s first place.

Urban Dictionary
queer as a three dollar bill
Older term that means extremely strange but is usually heard in reference to a gay person. There never was a three dollar bill...thus the rarity.
(...)
by thedzone October 07, 2009

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • Wednesday, August 24, 2016 • Permalink


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