Now users are reporting that items they purchased are missing from their accounts and have demanded some kind of official response from Valve. So far it hasn't said what went wrong, but did say "The elves are working frantically to get the issues sorted out, and the auction will start again as soon as they're done." We doubt that makes you feel better if you lost anything, so we've reached out for more information.
Update: Valve still hasn't officially said what's gone wrong, but it has sorted out how it's going to deal with exploit. A new update on the Holiday Auction page explains that all gems created by users will be returned to their inventory. Gems purchases from the community marketplace will be refunded and all trades involving Gems (presumably the source of the exploit) are being investigated. Oh, and all bids up until this point have been cancelled -- the entire promotion is going to be reset when the auction comes back online.
Update 2: The Auction is back on starting December 15th. Valve added that that "anyone who traded away items in exchange for Steam Gems on the first day of bidding will receive a copy of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in their Inventory." A full explanation is below.
NOTE: On Thursday Dec 11th we had an issue with Gems that meant we needed to reset the Auction and start over. We apologize for the interruption. Any placed bids will need to be placed again.
- All Gems created by you have been returned to your Inventory
- All Gem purchases from the Community Market have been reimbursed. View your Store Transactions to see the Wallet Credit to your account.
- All previous Auction bids have been canceled and the Auction has been reset.
- Additionally, anyone who traded away items in exchange for Steam Gems on the first day of bidding will receive a copy of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in their Inventory.