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October 2021 - Two Silvers for Charon

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This item is password protected and available to members of The Geocoin Club only. If you are a member of The Geocoin Club, you will receive the month's password in club newsletter email.

Design By: Chris Mackey 

Dimensions 45 mm Wide

Thickness  3.5 mm

Finish Antique Silver
Enameling Soft Enamel

Trackable? Yes

Has Icon Yes

October 2021 - Two Silvers for Charon

Design notes from the artist:  Chris Mackey


As a student reading Dante's Inferno for the first time, I was surprised to realize the importance of the payment of an Obol for a trip to Hades for judgement.  I had heard the phrase "2 Silvers for Charon", but did not realize the importance of the second coin.  Further, it didn't make sense for two coins from what I already understood.  Traditionally, an obol/obolus/danake would be place in or on the mouth of a recently deceased as a kind of bribe to ensure safe passage between the world of the living and the afterlife beyond the River Styx.  This bribe was a small measure of assurance that the departed would not be stuck wandering aimlessly for hundreds of years in the afterlife begging for a trip to the beyond.  They could press a little silver in the palm for space aboard Charon's craft and move along swiftly.

Upon reading the full accounting of Dante's adventures, however, it became clear that a second coin would be needed to secure passage back from the beyond if you were only visiting.  This guardian of passage to the afterlife has been described in many forms, but mostly commonly as a tall, skeletal being, in dark and decaying clothing with a piercing gaze and somber demeanor who rarely ever speaks.  Should one attempt to visit the great beyond this All Hallows Eve, it would be wise to remember to carry Two Silvers for Charon just in case the legends are true!

This coin shows the boatman surrounded by his messengers flying to and from the afterlife through the mists rising over the river.  The various styles of obols surround him from a number of different lands and cultures.  The guide to the beyond, "old grim", has become an integral part of the legends of what comes next.  We see his countenance in decorations all around the world and in different beliefs.  For someone who has a particular love of coins and legends surrounding them, my thoughts keep returning to just what the Reaper does with all those coins.  Thoughts that occupy my mind as I look forward to Halloween, Samhain and all the spooky stories and traditions we share as we revel in the thrill of the season!  

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