One of the standard peices of equipment for an adventurer is a sword. But swords were actually very complicated to manufacture. Therefore, an adventurer who owned a sword might have had it passed down through the generations or might have been rewarded by some influential figure. Or simply looted it from a tomb.
The PC's end up in a strange world where the very rocks are made of gold and jewels.As such gold and jewels is worth very little, but the iron in their swords and belt buckles is suddenly worth a LOT.