‘What is it worth?’

Skinner and the M.V. Museum team up to stage their own version of ‘Antiques Roadshow.’

Nancy Doyle brought in a toy sailboat from the Samuel Orkin Co. Karen Keane estimated it was made in 1920 and is worth nearly $3,500. —Stacey Rupolo

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum, along with Boston-based appraisal and auction house Skinner, Inc., hosted a two-day event to help Islanders present their heirlooms, finds, and irresistible uniquities, and help declare, “What’s it worth?”

Phase One of the discovery adventure was a fundraising cocktail party at the Vineyard Haven home of David Behnke and Paul Dougherty on Friday evening, Dec. 2. Some 50 friends of the museum gathered for an open house. Each invited guest was instructed to bring a single item for discussion and evaluation.

Museum event manager Katy Fuller said her favorite part of the presentations was the stories of how these often curious and equally often valuable relics came to be in Vineyard homes.

She welcomed two Skinner auctioneers and appraisers of objects of value, chief executive officer Karen M. Keane, and Kerry Shrives, who is both a senior vice president at Skinner and senior appraiser. The two women had troves of antiquities knowledge as well as access to the vast research resources of Skinner. For the past several years, the Skinner team has visited Martha’s Vineyard Museum to identify, comment, and place a value on objects brought in by the public.

Guests were allowed only one item apiece at the Friday-evening party, but the freestyle event came on the following day, Saturday. The morning began at 9 in the Martha’s Vineyard Museum library on School Street in Edgartown, with museum members and other Island residents bringing in a host of antiquities and curiosities until 3 pm.

The most arcane object was possibly Thea Hansen’s Etruscan bracelet. The most surprising was Tim Rush’s octopus-catching device, listed for further research by Skinner CEO Karen Keane as “a fishing implement,” but perhaps the most intriguing if not the most crowd-pleasing was a metal toy boat, modeled after a vessel in the Great White Fleet.

Nancy Dole of West Tisbury brought in this windup (an old clock mechanism) quasi-destroyer, and said it was from her grandfather, Francis Xavier Dole, who was an engineer in that round-the-world-voyage.

The so-called Great White Fleet was in fact a show of U.S. naval power to the world. President Theodore Roosevelt, of “speak softly” fame, ordered a United States Navy battle fleet of 16 battleships, divided into two squadrons, along with various escorts, to circumnavigate the globe from Dec. 16, 1907, to Feb. 22, 1909.

As Ms. Keane scrutinized the two-foot-long ship, it turned out that her grandfather, too, had art from that historic naval exercise. So there was great personal history and great novelty to the wee ship.

After a brief consultation with Ms. Shrives, Ms. Keane traced the ship’s origins to the Samuel Orkin Co., a turn-of-the century Cambridge jeweler who made a few toys, powered by variations of clock mechanisms — they dated this one to about 1920.

The “not widely mass-produced but not a one-off” was valued at between $2,500 and $3,500. Ms. Dole wasn’t selling, but thought she might loan it out to a friend who had long admired it; she felt his mantle might be a proper berth.

Four-language document

John and Jean Kelleher of West Tisbury brought in a “four-language document,” essentially a whaling ship’s registration to enter assorted ports of call. The 1866 item, for the whaling vessel Vineyard, was signed by her captain, Jeremiah Pease, and by President Andrew Johnson, and seemed at first to be legitimately rare.

Of course, the local interest was in the ship’s name and that of the esteemed Island captain, but there was also the rare signature of President Johnson, who you’ll remember was Abraham Lincoln’s vice president until the former’s assassination on April 15, 1865.

So when Ms. Kelleher initially bought the sprawling document, written in French, Spanish, Portuguese, and English, the official languages of the maritime community, she thought she might have landed a financial whale. However, Ms. Keane pointed out that the document was that era’s version of a form, with only Captain Pease’s signature legitimately signed with pen and ink.

The fact that Andrew Johnson was historically obscure hurt the value, instead of making it more rare, but there was no final appraisal verdict. Ms. Keane said the framed document will undergo further scrutiny with two of Skinner’s more specialized units, the papers and the book and manuscript departments.

John and Jean Kelleher were just pleased to have the local archive, and didn’t seem too bothered by its unsettled value. They had bought it at a now long-gone Boston paper store on Beacon Hill for something in the neighborhood of $600, so any upgrade will only be a pleasant surprise for them.

The day would produce a wide variety of objects — Navajo baskets, a modern interpretation of a 19th century powder horn, a myriad of paintings from thrift shops and grandmothers’ walls, and all in all, it was a fabulously interesting social event oozing with Vineyard style.