Yes, it's holding a stick pen in a semi-upright position, safe from rolling off a desk or being
flung from a work area by a cat.
It's called a Tap-Top-Pen-Pot Holder and is fashioned from a discarded metal handle which in a former life, turned on and off a propane cylinder. In this case, probably a 100 pounder as they had larger handles.
By law, every ten years, valves must be changed on propane cylinders. Handles were part of the
valve and consequently, were discarded. There are thousands of these things, in a variety of shapes and sizes, thrown away every year. Today, there is little change from year to year, manufacturer to manufacturer but in the fifties and sixties, these little handles were all different.
Something similar in all of them is the centre hole where the screw sits that tightens the handle to the
valve and it is this hole that is perfect for balancing most pens.
A few years back, I happened to be working at a propane plant and had access to many discarded tap tops. Loathe to see them go in the garbage, I started to decorate them when I realized that they were the perfect pen holder.
Some were made into wind chimes and I'll get a photo of once such permutation on the morrow.