Tricks of the trade: The Bargain Counter, Ace-High, May 1926

Most pulp magazines had regular letter columns and editorial departments. Ace-High, Clayton’s first pulp, offered The Bargain Counter, a department for people to exchange or trade items. It was quite popular, and if someone were to index it, would offer quite the look at pulp readership.

The Bargain Counter, department of Ace-High Magazine's The Country Store

I recently read the May 3, 1926 of Ace-High, and some of the ads in it were so interesting I had to share them with you.

The Pen is Mightier than the Sword

But not for J. W. Randall, 155 W. Main St., Rochester, N. Y., who offers to

Trade typewriters for repeating rifles or shotguns.

One way or the other, I’m going to make my fortune in the Big Apple

Says Mr. R. Isaacs, 334 W. 86th St., N. Y. City. who wants

“a pistol or a business course”

in exchange for

“fiction books, magazines, magic lantern, series assorted world pictures”.

A mystifying offer

From Cleo Leininger of Gilbert, Iowa:

“Have bums wrestling course. Want Bremer Tully three-circuit tuner.”

Turns out the printer’s devil was busy. What he was actually offering:

Like Most of Us

Is George Kay, Little Falls, Minn who wants:

“Views and facts on any topic. Have theory, idea, and view on all subjects.”

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

is the clarion call of Fred Hauer, Route 7, Box 3SA, Mt, Clemens, Mich who seeks:

Cut hair 84 inches or longer, auburn, or good shade of golden or blond.

Maybe it’s broken

Or else Ken La Mela, 40 W. Broadway, Paterson, N. J. wouldn’t have asked the question at the end of his offer.

Have Oriental crystal ball, found in India. What have you?

What was that, again?

Geo. McCoy of Grinnell, Iowa:

Will trade pair of greyhound pups for Russian female.

If the Price is Right

Have 1,100 foot link chain (surveyors). What have you to offer?

asks E. Beverly, R. F. D. 6, Ozark, Ala.

Lone Cowboy

Wanted job on ranch. Can milk ride, handle cattle, good all-around worker

says Jerry Bean, 37 29th St., San Francisco, Calif. Wonder if he got a job.

A couple of letters from readers on the department, in the same issue:


I get a double kick out of my 20c. each issue of Ace-High. The stories are so good that l seldom stop reading until the last one is finished. Then I read the ads and answer those that are interesting to me, both in the Bargain Counter and other advertisements.
I want to thank those who answered my ad and who received no reply, and say to them that they try again and we may swap the next time, but one can not exchange with a hundred when you have but the one article.
Thanking you for the insertion of my Bargain Counter notice, I am,

Very respectfully,
Box 273, Pierceton, Ind.



I like your Ace-High Magazine fine. I eagerly look forward to the 3rd and 18th of each month, when they go on sale here in our town at the newsstand, and l can get the new issues.
It’s O. K. from cover to cover, but l am wild about the exploits of Hooker Bros, of Canyon Lobo as well as the rest, and The Country Store is very, very interesting.
With best wishes,

Very sincerely,
Harrisonburg, Va.

I agree with both of them. Don’t you?


  1. Lately I’ve been reading through my Ace High magazines. I have a couple hundred but they are hard to find nowadays. The western comedies are the best stories, especially the Bedford Jones Pinky Jenkins series. Many of the shorts deal with amusing stories of boxing and baseball. The longer novelets and serials, with the exception of Pinky Jenkins, are not as interesting as the shorts.

    I’ve read some of the Country Store ads also. They go on for pages and pages offering all sorts of crazy trades.

    1. I don’t have that many issues of Ace-High, but I have read a few from the 20s and the 30s. In the 20s Pinky Jenkins is fun and in the 30s the hooker brothers series is kind of fun but uneven. The illustrations were always good; Clayton used artists like Eggenhofer and Delano.
      I’m surprised why more copies don’t turn up. Clayton had good distribution, like Fawcett and Doubleday. A minor mystery.

  2. This was great for a laugh, Sai. The crystal ball joke is golden 😀
    You can tell a lot about a magazine in departments like these. I’ve never taken a look at The Country Store before, how fun.

    1. > You can tell a lot about a magazine in departments like these

      Very perceptive and says a lot about the editor’s work in keeping the tone of the magazine consistent.

      Adventure‘s letter column was serious, often rough and tumble but generally serious.

      The not-so-serious nature of Ace-High‘s column reflects the not-so-serious nature of some of the stories.

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