(Associated Press photo)

You can use a gun for home protection, if that’s your thing, or you could go old school and keep a baseball bat near the door.

Or you could go with a game-used Lou Gehrig bat that’s probably worth many thousands of dollars. Whatever works.

That’s what one unnamed family did for 30 years, and now that they know the bat’s extremely rare provenance — less than 20 game-used Gehrig bats are thought to exist — they’re auctioning it off through Love of the Game Auctions.

Auction Report has more:

“This bat was given to the consignor decades ago by a family member of a former Yankee Stadium groundskeeper,” said LOTG’s Al Crisafulli, president of the internet-based sports auction house. “Though the consignor is a Yankee fan, the family is not a baseball family, and without knowledge of the bat’s value it was kept behind the front door for protection – for 30 years.”

Crisafulli added that the bat was nearly left behind during a move in the early 2000s, and a few years later was almost given to a neighborhood child who liked to play ball. “Really, it is amazing that this outstanding piece of memorabilia made it this far, and its history certainly adds color to the story. All that aside, it is gorgeous. It is important. And it is among the most exciting consignments with which an auction house can be entrusted.”

Crisafulli wouldn’t speculate on what the bat will fetch at auction, but Sports Collectors Daily noted that Gehrig bats rank among the five most desirable for collectors, trailing only Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Ted Williams and Jackie Robinson.

“Beyond its significant value, this is the kind of item that makes baseball fans of all ages feel like kids again,” Crisafulli told Sports Collectors Daily. “Everyone wants to hold this bat – which once belonged to a true American sports legend.”