In late 18th century England, many merchant or advertising tokens appeared in circulation to supplement the constant shortage of small change in the Empire. These privately issued tokens were usually intended for domestic use. However, many tokens saw limited use in America to facilitate the need for small change in the "colonies."

Such a token is the Franklin Press Token of 1794. Of unknown origin, this unique coin displays a printing press with the legend, " SIC ORITUR DOCTRINA SURGETQUE LIBERTAS" (In this manner learning springs forth and liberty rises up), with the date 1794. The reverse states: "PAYABLE AT THE FRANKLIN PRESS LONDON." The token was, in all probability, made for the firm of Watt's Printing Works in London where Benjamin Franklin worked in 1726. As he was arguably the most famous man in the world in the mid to late 1700's, any firm that could associate itself with Franklin would appear to be in high company indeed! Franklin had even stopped by to pay a nostalgic visit to the press when in London in 1768. The printing press from this firm is now at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.