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Recycle trash into treasure on Steam

2 min read

Steam holiday auction

I’m one of those strange people who enjoys collecting Steam trading cards for my favorite games, later crafting them into badges and bragging rights. However, my Steam inventory can also get cluttered with weird, worthless junk. But it’s time to clean it out and get some fun games in the process.

The Steam Holiday Auction runs 15 December to 18 December when the Holiday Sale begins. How does it work? Well, you recycle your community items like trading cards, backgrounds and emoticons into gems. You then use those gems to bid on games up for auction. There are up to 200k games up for auction, and gems will apparently be more valuable than those cards, backgrounds or emoticons – also, backgrounds and emoticons will yield higher gem values than cards, so it’s still worthwhile to craft badges when you can. So, clean out your inventory to make room for the start of the Steam Sale, and pick up some games for free… unless you need to buy gems to get to the auction price.

Here’s a cute comic from Valve explaining why and how this is happening.

Holiday auction comic

Sounds like a very cool idea, but I might just sell off those extra things in my inventory so that I have the cold hard cash for when the Steam Sale starts. Unless I see a cheap auction for This War of Mine, or those new TellTale games. So maybe I’ll convert everything into gems and then sell the gems? I’m not really too sure what I’m going to do, but it’s a cool promotion and will extend my Steam addiction – there’s more than just the holiday sale now. This is certainly a nice build up to the main event.

Unfortunately, it is currently broken. There was an issue with gem duplication leading to crazy inflation and other issues. Valve has shut things down until further notice with the following explanation.

Sorry, but there have been some issues with Gems and the Steam Holiday Auction has been temporarily closed. The elves are working frantically to get the issues sorted out, and the auction will start again as soon as they’re done.

Ooops! Here’s hoping the normal Holiday Sale doesn’t have the same troubles.

Last Updated: December 12, 2014


  1. Admiral Chief BellatorMachina

    December 12, 2014 at 11:02

    OH FFS that is why all my 1c items have been gobbled up!!!!


    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      December 12, 2014 at 11:21

      lol – you also get a whole bunch of emails this morning telling you stuff was sold on the community market?


      • Admiral Chief BellatorMachina

        December 12, 2014 at 12:43

        Yeah, I made a FULL 8c!!!


    • Dexter

      December 13, 2014 at 13:41

      Mine too… I was wandering why and now it’s too late… oh well..


  2. Hammersteyn

    December 12, 2014 at 11:04

    • Raptor Rants A Lot

      December 12, 2014 at 11:08

      Needs a brazers logo


    • Joe Black

      December 12, 2014 at 14:08

      Seagate will be releasing a budget 8TB HD in the not too distant future.


      • Hammersteyn

        December 15, 2014 at 08:01



  3. Reid

    December 12, 2014 at 11:14

    I saw this on steam this morning. Traded 2 cards for gems. Got 40 gems for those, but some of the games were valued at over 100k gems. I might need more cards. A lot more.


    • Admiral Chief BellatorMachina

      December 12, 2014 at 11:19



    • B3ware_za

      December 12, 2014 at 17:43

      Rule 708 of Steam/life:
      There is always someone with more $$$ than you.

      Seems like a good little quest, but I’ll rather wait on the sale to start. There are just too many people on Steam with money ready to be disposed of.


  4. PointMan

    December 12, 2014 at 11:24

    Who here actually has enough cards, wallpapers, emoji etc to turn into gems? Some of the bids for the games are going over 400k already. If i empty out everything in my inventory, I wont even hit 1000 gems :


    • Admiral Chief BellatorMachina

      December 12, 2014 at 11:27



    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      December 12, 2014 at 11:27

      I want my meaningless badges more!


      • Kensei Seraph

        December 12, 2014 at 11:31

        I have trading cards valued at around $0,5.
        I somehow doubt it would be worth more to turn them into gems than it would be to simply sell them.


      • PointMan

        December 12, 2014 at 11:32

        Speaking of meaningless badges, I got my first ever booster pack yesterday.


        • RustedFaith

          December 12, 2014 at 11:59

          hey me to i got a shadow warrior one


  5. DrKiller

    December 12, 2014 at 11:38

    You guys can always give me your cards! I need to improve my nerd level 🙁


    • B3ware_za

      December 12, 2014 at 17:40

      Once you go nerd, you never go back.


  6. xxx

    December 13, 2014 at 16:19

    if ever we have remaining gems that not yet used for bidding… what happens to the gems?


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