IL online auctions bring in cool mil

Last month's realtime webcast auction was the most popular yet. Official: 'Much bigger bang for our buck.'

Illinois' initial experiment with online auctions of surplus property have exceeded all expectations, bringing in a cool million in revenue since 2003. Last month, the state tried something more cutting edge - a real-time webcast auction. The event doubled the number of bidders who usually take part in auctions, The Chicago Tribune reports.

"Internet auctions have given the state a much bigger bang for our buck in the last three years, as we've created innovative ways to reduce our costs and to generate revenue," CMS director Paul Campbell said in a statement.

The cool thing about online auctions, from the state's point of view, is that they tend to bring in more money than some items' retail values. The first item sold three years ago was a 1986 Corvette that sold for $2,000 above retail. The state has also sold a 1998 Ford Mustang GT Interceptor for $4,310 and a University of Illinois locker with a signed helmet and football for $435.

Traditional auction bidding is held six times per year in Springfield and usually brings in an average of $700,000 annually. Illinois generated more than $1.2 million in surplus property sales last year.