Blue-blood Townhouse on Auction Block

With the real estate market not exactly what one would call healthy, sellers are looking for innovative ways to -- how should I put this gently? -- unload their property.

Across the country, there is growing acceptance of the auction process, even among luxury developers.

In Boston, for example, several high-end condos have been auctioned off in the past year (not to mention the John Hancock tower!). But the real drama unfolds next month. That's when, for the first time as far as anyone there can remember, a posh, single-family home on Boston's famously blue-blood Beacon Hill will be put on the auction block.

One real estate agent in the neighborhood told Boston.com that both sellers and agents are keeping their fingers crossed for a successful sale of the property. "It might start a new trend," Sally Brewster says.