A soft metallic element found in small amounts on Earth and distributed in quantities throughout the universe. Gold's rarity, attractiveness, resistance to oxidation (tarnish), and workability have made it valuable to humans for thousands of years.
Superman and Superboy deal with gold throughout their careers, as it is desirable to criminals and villains due to its high economic value and because it can therefore be exchanged for money and other gains. To criminals, gold in its refined form is available for the taking at Fort Knox. On one occasion, Superboy even retreats underground to replace the gold of Fort Knox (SB No. 59/1, Sep 1957: "Superboy's Underground Exile").
Superbaby once travels to the earth's past in search of gold when he overhears that Jonathan Kent "needs" it (he has misplaced a cufflink), stopping at Sutter's Mill, the time of King Solomon, and ancient Greece when the Golden Fleece existed (SB No. 120/3, Apr 1965: "Superbaby's Golden Quest!").
Perhaps because of some elemental similarities to Lead, gold may help screen some of the harmful effects of Kryptonite, a fact that benefits Superman and Supergirl when they use their heat vision to melt gold and cover a large chunk of kryptonite that is threatening them (Act No. 262, Mar 1960: "Supergirl's Greatest Victory!").
Gold is very common on Krypton and has no economic value. For example, Jor-El uses gold to construct the entire hull of an experimental anti-gravity ship for space travel (S No. 233, Jan 1971: "Jor-El's Golden Folly"). Indeed, the element is so plentiful it seeps in large quantities from the Gold Volcano -- however, the beauty of gold is still acknowledged by Kryptonians as they visit the volcano as a popular tourist destination (for example, see S No. 141, Nov 1960: "Superman's Return to Krypton!"). In contrast to the situation on Krypton, gold seems to retain much of its value in the 30th century universe, as Dynamo Boy rejects Golden Boy's application to join his new Legion of Super-Heroes because his power to transform anything to gold would make the metal worthless (Adv No. 331, Apr 1964: "The Triumph of the Legion of Super-Villains!").
Sonny Vanderbilt is a wealthy young tot who is the son of millionaires and even has a solid gold toy steam shovel (SB No. 133, Oct 1966: Superbaby's First Foster-Parents!").
In May 1955, Superman returns to Smallville to thwart an underworld scheme to recover $1,000,000 in gold which, following its theft many years ago, is hidden in Smallville by the thieves and never recovered (S No. 97/3: â€œSuperboyâ€™s Last Day in Smallvilleâ€).
In July 1958, Superman journeys to the ruins of sunken Atlantis to obtain a â€œflying-saucer shipâ€ made of pure gold, one of a series of so-called â€œspace trophiesâ€ which the Man of Steel gathers for inclusion in a time capsule that the Metropolis Museum plans to bury in the ground as a gift for the people of the fiftieth century A.D. (S No. 122/1: â€œThe Secret of the Space Souvenirsâ€).
In October 1961, Lori Lemaris indicates that she and her fellow Atlanteans intend to use a hoard of gold from a sunken Spanish treasure ship to fashion solid gold statues of Jor-El and Lara as a surprise gift for Superman in gratitude for his past efforts on behalf of Atlantis's mer-people (S No. 148/3: "Superman Owes a Billion Dollars!").
(See Also The Rainbow Doom)