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. Now a Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from September 25, 2011
Top Dollar

To get “top dollar” on a used car or other item is to get the best price (the most money) for it—a dollar amount that can’t be topped. The term “top dollar” has been cited in print since at least 1921.

The Office of Price Administration (OPA), in the 1940s, listed “top dollar” prices that could be charged for many items. The term “top dollar” was frequently used in the 1940s and continued to be used after the OPA was abolished in 1947, but “top dollar” had been used well before this time. A CBS television game show called Top Dollar aired from 1958-59.

“Bottom dollar” (cited in print since at least 1855) means one’s last dollar.

Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary
top dollar noun
Definition of TOP DOLLAR
: the highest amount being paid for a commodity or service
First Known Use of TOP DOLLAR

(Oxford English Dictionary)
top dollar n. N. Amer. colloq. a high price.
1970 Toronto Daily Star 24 Sept. 15/9 He said Sault residents ‘are paying top dollar for a second-rate flight’.
1978 M. Puzo Fools Die xvi. 170 A lot of those guys‥had paid him top dollar to buy their enlistment in the six months’ program.

Wikipedia: Office of Price Administration
The Office of Price Administration (OPA) was established within the Office for Emergency Management of the United States Government by Executive Order 8875 on August 28, 1941. The functions of the OPA were originally to control prices (price controls) and rents after the outbreak of World War II.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt revived the Advisory Commission to World War I Council on National Defense on May 29, 1940 to include Price Stabilization and Consumer Protection Divisions. Both divisions merged to become the Office of Price Administration and Civilian Supply (OPACS) within the Office for Emergency Management by Executive Order 8734, April 11, 1941. Civil supply functions were transferred to the Office of Production Management.

It became an independent agency under the Emergency Price Control Act, January 30, 1942. The OPA had the power to place ceilings on all prices except agricultural commodities, and to ration scarce supplies of other items, including tires, automobiles, shoes, nylon, sugar, gasoline, fuel oil, coffee, meats and processed foods. At the peak, almost 90% of retail food prices were frozen. It could also authorize subsidies for production of some of those commodities.

Most functions of the OPA were transferred to the to newly established Office of Temporary Controls (OTC) by Executive Order 9809, December 12, 1946. The Financial Reporting Division was transferred to the Federal Trade Commission.

The OPA was abolished effective May 29, 1947, by the General Liquidation Order issued March 14, 1947 by the OPA Administrator.

27 February 1921, Salt Lake Telegram (Salt Lake City, UT), pg. 12, col. 6 ad:
We also handle all kinds of livestock and commission. Our Coast and Local connections enable us to get the Top Dollar.
(Delmue Livestock Commission Co.—ed.)

19 April 1924, Washington (DC) Post, pg. 14, col. 4 classified ad:
CLOTHING (men’s cast-off); get the full cash value for men’s worn clothing, shoes &c.; we pay the top dollar. Old reliable. Established in 1865. Justh’s Old Stand.

27 May 1924, Oregonian (Portland, OR), pg. 19, col. 2 classidied ad:
THE IMPERIAL AUCTION MART will pay the very top dollar for a single article or house full; will buy outright or sell on commission.
West Park and Yamhill. MA 2626.

23 March 1927, Wisconsin Rapids (WI) Daily Tribune, pg. 6, col. 2 classified ad:
AUCTIONEER—My slogan is “The Top Dollar for your Property.” H. O. Bass, Wisconsin Rapids, Phone 747.

23 October 1927, Omaha (NE) World-Herald, pg. 20, col. 3 classified ad:
WILL PAY top dollar for late model used cars. Nate Kaplan, WE 5462.

17 December 1928, Oakland (CA) Tribune, pg. 34, col. 8 classified ad:
Cash For Your Car
We pay the top dollar for late model cars or equities.
(McGurrin and Company—ed.)

Google News Archive
13 May 1943, Pittsburgh (PA) Press, pg. 36, col. 3:
Retailers Must Post Iden-
tity to Aid Customers

Reacting to housewives’ demands, the District OPA today asserted it has revamped its ceiling lists on groceries and hereafter will announce top prices in such a way that shoppers will be able to spot violations regardless of what size store they patronize.

The new price-ceiling policy will go into effect here Sunday, when the OPA will list top dollar-and-cents prices on 19 more grocery items, including canned fruits and vegetables, baby foods, jams and jellies.

Google News Archive
21 July 1943, Pittsburgh (PA) Press, pg. 24, col. 6 ad:
I’ll give you a free estimate on what your car is worth. I’ll prove to you that now Is the time to sell car—get top dollar for your car. My offer to you will be my best Retail Price.
(Modern Auto Co.—ed.)

Google Books
23 October 1943, Billboard magazine, pg. 80, col. 2 ad:
(Dave Lowy—ed.)

Google Books
2 March 1946, Billboard magazine, pg. 113, col. 3 ad: 
(Bell Products Co.—ed.)

Google News Archive
16 April 1948, Warsaw (IN) Daily Times, pg. 8, col. 7 ad:
We All Want the Top Dollar
You, as a producer of livestock, want to get the best price for your animals— “the top dollar.” As a salesman for Swift & Company, selling the products which result from these animals, I, too, want to get the top dollar.

Google News Archive
28 September 1950, Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette, “Sidelights on Sports” by Al Abrams, pg. 18, col. 1:
Maybe, Rickey is not to blame fo rall the Pirate ills, but there many who are prone to pass judgment against him for selling Pittsburgh several lemons and getting the top dollar them.

2 August 1951, Painesville (OH) Telegraph, pg. 23, col. 4 ad:
Get top dollar for your present refrigerator by letting us have it now!

Google News Archive
2 November 1953, Pittsburgh (PA) Press, pg. 15, col. 3 ad:
(Ford dealer --ed.)

The Game Show Survival List
TOP DOLLAR CBS, 1958-59 Lost. 

Google News Archive
23 August 1958, Deseret News and Telegram (Salt Lake City, UT), “Phony Dollars On TV Quiz Bring Secret Service Probe,” pg. B3, col. 5:
WASHINGTON (UPI)—A CBS giveaway program has asked Secret Service protection against over-zealous viewers who have doctored dollar bills to win prize money.

The Secret Service said today the altered bills were received by the CBS Television program Top Dollar; which pays up to $3,000 to persons sending in dollar bills bearing winning series numbers.

Google News Archive
20 July 1960, Meriden (CT) Record, pg. 12, col. 3:
4 U.S. Refiners Pay
Top Dollar For Sugar

NEW YORK (AP)—Four American refiners Tuesday paid the highest price for sugar since the Korean War.

Google News Archive
2 September 1964, Miami (FL) News, pg. B2, col. 4:
Palmer Still Top Dollar
On Pro Golf Tour

DUNEDIN (AP)—Arnold Palmer has been coming in second for the fat purses on professional golf’s tournament trail recently.

Google News Archive
24 July 1968, Sarasota (FL) Herald-Tribune, pg. 1, col. 4:
Steel Union Okays Strike:
Seeks Top Dollar Contract

PITTSBURGH (AP)—The United Steelworkers rank and file gave their bargainers a lopsided mandate Tuesday to wring a top-dollar settlement out of the industry or call a strike Aug. 1.

OCLC WorldCat record
Dixie peach
Author: Bill King, vocalist.
Publisher: Canada : Capitol, 1974.
Edition/Format:  Music LP : Rock music : English
Contents: Awkward Christian soldiers --
Blue skies, blue skies --
Dixie peach --
Let there be love --
Ms. --
Top dollar man --

OCLC WorldCat record
Attorney’s master guide to expediting top-dollar case settlements
Author: Charles E Robbins
Publisher: [Englewood Cliffs, N.J.] : Executive Reports Corp., [1975]
Edition/Format:  Book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
How to get top dollar for your home in good times or bad
Author: Irving Price
Publisher: New York : Times Books, ©1980.
Edition/Format:  Book : English

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (3) Comments • Sunday, September 25, 2011 • Permalink