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A penny for Charon?
I thought that coin was supposed to be part of the bridal dowry, given to the boat when a new skipper wed her and witnessed by Poseidon.
The tradition of a gold coin (yes, that's the tradition too) would seem to mean Charon was raising prices.
By the way, there are some SMALL gold coins, 1/10th ounce, which used to sell for $45 or so, so a real gold coin can be used without totally bankrupting the kitty.
When they overhauled Old Ironsides (U.S.S. Constitution) and stepped new spars--they found the original coins under the masts and, IIRC, replaced them along with new ones.
Kinda makes you wonder, where the kids today got the idea that you are supposed to throw change into a new car when you (or a friend) get it. Pennies for Charon would really be morbid that way.