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.

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Entry from October 06, 2009
“Four cents short of a nickel”

"Four cents short of a nickel” is a description of someone who is “not all there.” The expression is found on many lists of “full deckisms” (that is, “he’s not playing with a full deck").

“Four cents short of a nickel” is cited in print since at least 1987.


Canonical List of Fulldeckisms
(As in, “He’s not playing with a full deck.")
A compendium of insults and “not all there” comments from various sources, beginning with rec.humor, April 1987.
(...)
420. Four cents short of a nickel.

Short of a Full Deck - Chez Goodman
Four cents short of a nickel.

24 November 1987, Mass Media (Boston, MA), pg. 11, col. 1:
Her (Barbra Streisand—ed.) head down, her hair tangled, her face sullen, she does indeed look as if she’s four cents short of a nickel.

1 January 1989, Chicago (IL) Tribune, “Politics gives Glendale heights a big-city flavor” by Jody Temkin, Du Page, pg. 1:
“These people all appear to me to be about six cents short of a nickel,” said Sullivan, when asked if she put Fonte and Pastore up to the petition challenge.

Google Groups: rec.humor
Newsgroups: rec.humor
From: (Bryan Hannahs)
Date: 7 Mar 91 09:35:49 GMT
Local: Thurs, Mar 7 1991 4:35 am
Subject: Re: Cliches (was Re: Schoolhouse Rock)

He’s about 4 cents short of a nickel.

Google Groups: rec.humor
Newsgroups: rec.humor
From: (Mick Shatswell)
Date: 6 Aug 91 16:05:36 GMT
Local: Tues, Aug 6 1991 11:05 am
Subject: Re: Not Too Bright ... (PLEASE READ!!!)

About four cents short of a nickel.

Miami (FL) New Times
Published on May 12, 1993
(...)
Scotti has a sizable voice, but his delivery is all pose, nothing that Rick Astley couldn’t knock off on his way to has-been rehab, and the flat stab at the Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes chestnut “Wake Up Everybody” is about four cents short of a nickel.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Tuesday, October 06, 2009 • Permalink