So you want to sell that 1965 Kennedy half dollar you received as a gift at your college graduation and you don't know how to do it? You are not alone.

According to Michael Checkan, a vice president at Deak-Perera precious metal traders, the largest gold seller in the country, the first step to happiness in the precious metals trade is to find a reputable dealer.

"A number of firms in Washington have taken money and never delivered," Checkan said. He suggested calling the Better Business Bureau for references.

Other suggestions include:

Find a metals dealer that both buys and sells.

Don't rely on credit cards. Dealers usually don't take them in gold and silver transactions because the cards involve a charge to the dealer.

If using a check, expect to wait about five days for the check to clear if drawn on a local bank and about 10 working days for out-of-the-area customers before receiving your purchase.

Expect to pay a minimum of $2,500 if buying gold or silver certificates.

Plan to buy gold in coins, bars and certificates and ask the dealer the advantages and disadvantages of each; do the same for purchases of silver in coins, bars and certificates.

During busy times like today don't plan to buy one silver quarter or other small denomination.

Checkan said that when buying or selling silver, only coins minted before 1964 are used because they contain more silver than those made today. Those coins contain 90 percent silver and their selling price was about $24 for quarters at one point yesterday.

Kennedy half dollars minted between 1965 and 1970 contain only 40 percent silver and two of those could have earned a seller about $10, at one point yesterday.

Dealers generally don't accept jewelry, gold teeth of other items, Checkan said, and never give investment advice.