You suggested using a layer of gold around iron or lead to cheat the locals.
This is generally a bad idea. Detecting this cheat is a classic physics example. You immerse the object in water and find out the volume of water it displaces. You then figure out the weight of a similar volume of gold. If that would be heavier than your object, the object is fake.
Gold has a density of 19.30 g/cm3 and lead only has 11.34, so it would be easy to determine.
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I agree. Also a sharp knife would show the subterfuge as well. Of course gold is just one form of "coinage". Aluminum is another in most cultures that can't make it but know of it. A collection of aluminum pots and pans are a kings ransom on those worlds!
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