Green’s Dictionary of Slang

thirty cents n.

SE in slang uses

In phrases

like thirty cents (adj.) (also like thirty-cent pieces) [pun on feel like a million dollars under million n.]

(US) impoverished; cheap, worthless; esp. as feel like/look like thirty cents.

[US]Ade Artie (1963) 8: If I had time I’d go over to that church and make a lot o’ them Reubs look like thirty-cent pieces.
[US]Ade ‘R-E-M-O-R-S-E’ in Verses and Jingles (1911) 2: Last night at twelve I felt immense, / To-day I feel like thirty cents.
[US]‘O. Henry’ ‘The Love-Philtre of Ikey Schoenstein’ in Four Million (1915) 123: From the very first dose he was ace-high and everybody else looked like thirty cents to her.
[US]H. Green Maison De Shine 269: Of course, some persons look like thirty cents, an’ it don’t matter what you put on ’em.
[US]J. London Smoke Bellew Pt 7 [Internet] Why, if we can ever get our hands on all that bottom, we’ll make Rockefeller look like thirty cents.
[US]W. Winchell On Broadway 27 July [synd. col.] ‘How do yer feel?’ ‘Aw [...] I feel like thirty cents’.
[US]E. Anderson Thieves Like Us (1999) 202: You can [...] make me look like thirty cents.
Baltimore Sun 22 June Magazine 6/5: Thirty-cent piece . . . droop [i.e. an unpopular individual. . . good guy.
[US]J.L. Herlihy ‘A Summer for the Dead’ Sleep of Baby Filbertson and Other Stories (1964) 61: You make a girl feel like about thirty cents. Honestly!
M.L. Peabody To be Young was Very Heaven 308: [He] was as handsome as ever and made all the other men there look like thirty cents.