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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Charon’s obol

CNG 109, Lot: 382. Estimate $750.
Sold for $2000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

UNCERTAIN. 5th-1st centuries BC. AV Danake (9mm, 0.22 g). Facing head of Persephone / Incuse of obverse. VF.

Ex Classical Numismatic Group Electronic Auction 220 (14 October 2009), lot 216; Classical Numismatic Group 20 (25 March 1992), lot 216.

A variety of thin, uniface disks of this nature are known that have a single obverse type that mimics a coin type. All of these pseudo-coins have no sign of attachment, are too thin for normal use, and are often found in burial sites. In ancient times, it was customary to place coins with the dead during burial so that the deceased could pay the boatman Charon to ferry them across the river Styx. These uniface tokens probably also served this same purpose.