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From Wikipedia, April 10, 2010:
 
An obol is an allusive term for the coin placed in or on the mouth (or eyes) of a dead person before burial. The phrase “Charon’s obol” as used by archaeologists... serves as a kind of shorthand for goods presumed to further the deceased’s passage into the afterlife. In Latin, the obol is sometimes called a viaticum, or “sustenance for the journey”. The placement of the coin on the mouth also has been explained as a seal to protect the deceased's soul, and in some cases, to prevent it from returning.
 
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