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 Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from August 04, 2013
“He squeezes a quarter so tight the eagle screams” (he’s cheap)

Many versions of the U.S. quarter --as well as other coins—have an eagle on one side. Someone who doesn’t like to spend money is said to “squeeze a quarter so tight the eagle screams.” “Like squeezing a quarter until the eagle screams” was cited in print in 1867. “A good citizen is a man who...doesn’t squeeze a quarter until the eagle screams” was cited in print in 1901.

A similar saying is “He squeezes a nickel so tight the Indian cries.”

Wikipedia: Standing Liberty quarter
The Standing Liberty quarter was a 25-cent coin struck by the United States Mint from 1916 to 1930. It succeeded the Barber quarter, which had been minted since 1892. Featuring the goddess of Liberty on one side and an eagle in flight on the other, the coin was designed by sculptor Hermon Atkins MacNeil.

Wikipedia: Washington quarter
The Washington quarter is the present quarter dollar or 25-cent piece issued by the United States Mint. The coin was first struck in 1932; the original version was designed by sculptor John Flanagan.
Since 1999, the original eagle reverse has not been used; instead that side of the quarter has commemorated the 50 states, the nation’s other jurisdictions, and National Park Service sites—the last as part of the America the Beautiful Quarters series, which will continue until 2021.

26 November 1867, Boston (MA) Journal, “Current Notes,” pg. 4, col. 2:
In a case of a little over $3 of mutilated currency, the Government deducted two cents for dilapidation! This, the sufferer says, is like squeezing a quarter until the eagle screams.

28 December 1901, Woodbury (NJ) Daily Times, pg. 2, col. 1:
A good citizen is a man who takes pride in his town, pays his honest debts, speaks well of his neighbors and friends, takes home his paper and pays for it, and doesn’t squeeze a quarter until the eagle screams.

Google News Archive
4 August 1907, Bridgeport (CT) Sunday Herald, “No Conservator For Oliver Starr,” pg. 20, col. 3:
When in his normal sense Oliver will squeeze a quarter till the eagle screams, before he will part with it, but lately he has been loosening up a bit.

24 April 1926, Trenton (NJ) Evening Times, “The Fun Shop” by Maxon Foxhall Judell, pg. 8, col. 1:
My brother was always rather stingy and I had made the remark that “he’d squeeze a quarter till the eagle screamed.”

He came to visit us during his vacation and my little son took advantage of my absence from the room, one day, to say: “Uncle Tom, have you a quarter?”

“Why yes, son, but don’t you think that’s too much to spend?”

“Oh, I don’t want to spend it,” was the answer. “but mother says you squeeze one so that the eagle screams, and I wanted to hear it.”
-- Mrs. J. E.

Google Books
These Were the Children
By Albert Wilson
Menlo Park, CA: Wilson
Pg. 161:
“And especially, don’t forget to squeeze those quarters of yours till the eagle screams!”

4 March 1987, Boston (MA) Herald, “Duke can sing ‘She’s the boss’ to White House” by Howie Carr, pg. 8, col. 5:
I mean, we all know the Duke’s rep—he’ll squeeze a quarter ‘til the eagle screams.

Google Books
They Sing Christmas Up in Harlem:
A Lenox Avenue Christmas Carol:
A Full-length Play

By Eric LeRoy Wilson
Woodstock, IL: Dramatic Pub.
Pg. 8:
Those two would hold a quarter so tight, the eagle would pass out from lack of breath.

Google Books
Conversational Southern
By Anne Calloway
Minneapolis, MN: Mill City Press, Inc.
Pg. 16:
“He’s so tight he squeezes a Quarter til the eagle screams!”
(Another tight wad.)

The southern charms of a family reunion
July 18, 2011
By: Amy Kunkle
Southern get-togethers also contain some verbiage that might be foreign to those not living in the south. Here’s a look at some southern expressions:

•Sit a spell- to sit down and have a conversation
•Dgeat?- Did you eat
•He’s about as handy as a back pocket on a shirt- He’s not too handy
•Daddy gave us a piece of land- Dad transferred a portion of the deed of land from his name to the child
•He squeezes a quarter so tight the eagle screams- Either he’s thrifty or cheap, take your pick.

Google Books
Your Sense of Humor:
Don’t Leave Home Without It

By K.B. Chandra Raj
Victoria, BC: Trafford Publishing Company
Pg. 167:
He squeezes a quarter so tight the eagle screams.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • Sunday, August 04, 2013 • Permalink