This metal cylinder typically contained the llicència absoluta, a valuable document issued to soldiers to permanently exempt from military obligations. Also known as the canut, it was hung around the neck with coloured laces.
The piece dates back to the time when military service was compulsory for all men aged twenty. This particular document holder is from the beginning of the 20th century. When soldiers were recruited, they lost their civilian status and fell under military jurisdiction until the ‘absolute licence’ or "blanca" released them.