Before coins and paper money were used as a means of exchange, bartering for goods was a common practice on the American frontier. This practice continued in rural Kentucky into the 20th century when local hucksters would trade staples for anything from chickens, eggs, freshly caught fish or a fine snapping turtle.
Bartering dates back to 6,000 BC when tribes introduced it in Mesopotamia. The Babylonians developed an improved bartering system and exchanged goods for food, tea, weapons, and spices. At times, human skulls were bartered as well.