Gold was a metallic element, number 79 on the periodic table. Though once considered very valuable, by the 23rd century the Federation considered it almost worthless, except for decorative and functional purposes. (TOS: "Catspaw"; TNG: "The Last Outpost", "Time's Arrow"; VOY: "Muse")
The Ferengi valued gold as a precious commodity until the 2370s, after which its use to them consisted of little more than a medium for suspending latinum in. It still remained valuable to some primitive civilizations. (DS9: "Little Green Men", "Who Mourns for Morn?"; ENT: "Acquisition"; TNG: "The Last Outpost", "Captain's Holiday", "Rascals")
In 2368, Par Lenor offered 20,000 Ludugial gold coins for the empathic metamorph Kamala to Ambassador Briam. The offer was refused. According to Par Lenor, Ludugial gold was the purest in the galaxy. (TNG: "The Perfect Mate")
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Background information Edit
Dialogue in TNG: "The Last Outpost" and "The Perfect Mate" suggested that, at least as late as 2368, Ferengi considered gold valuable. In "Little Green Men", Quark says to a 20th-century Human that "gold is good" while discussing what humans could trade for advanced Ferengi technology. However, by the time of "Who Mourns for Morn?", Quark described gold as "worthless", seemingly contradicting the earlier assessment that gold had "good" trade value.
One explanation for this apparent devaluation of gold was the fact that the Ferengi had only recently made first contact with the Federation. Replicator technology, if introduced to a gold-based economy, could send markets plunging. This may have happened to the Ferengi, who would have experienced a massive gold market crash as a result. Then again, gold may have lost value for some other reason. The comment in "Little Green Men" may be in the context of a pre-replicator economy, especially since he stated his intention not to go back to his own time, remaining in the past and ruling the Earth within a year.