Have you recently inherited a coin collection? Are you wondering if any of it is worth anything or if it's simply ordinary pocket change? Rare coins can sometimes be worth tens, hundreds, or even thousands of dollars. But in order to be sure that you're getting a good deal, you'll want to know what you have first. Only a professional can properly value a coin, but here are some things to look for:

Silver coins: Modern quarters and dimes are a "sandwich" of copper and silver. But for the years 1964 and prior, half-dollars, quarters and dimes were made entirely out of 90% silver; this changed because of the Coinage Act of 1965. For the silver content alone, even a worn coin can be worth many times its face value. If the coin is in especially good condition or comes from an interesting minting or year, the price that you get offered from coin buyers can rise significantly. Unfortunately, some people do counterfeit coins so it's very important to get your coins properly authenticated and appraised by professionals like those at Desert Jewelry Mart & Coins before celebrating a particularly noteworthy find.

War pennies: Finding a copper penny from 1943 is extremely unlikely, but it's still worth a look. Due to the war effort, the mint switched over to steel for 1943, but a few copper pennies were still accidentally struck. In 1944, when the mint switched back to a copper alloy, a few steel pennies were again accidentally struck. If you do somehow find a 1943 copper penny or a 1944 steel penny, you should contact your local coin buyers for a proper appraisal. They'll be able to tell you whether you have a genuine coin or if a counterfeit one wound up in the collection.

1995 penny: Coins don't necessarily have to be old to be valuable. If something unusual happened during the minting process, coin buyers will pay more for the coin. Such is the case with some 1995 pennies. A few of these pennies were struck twice by the die during the minting process, resulting in coins that may have a slightly blurry picture. Any double die coin is going to be more valuable than a coin that was struck properly, but the 1995 penny may be considered especially noteworthy for the average person due to how recently it was produced. This makes it much more likely to show up in your coin collection or even in the change that you get back while shopping.