You hear a lot about people finding incredibly valuable things at a flea market or garage sale that they paid like five cents for, but one man thinks he has everyone beat in the "thing that will make me fabulously wealthy that I picked up at a flea market" arena. Cliff Kluge and his wife, Arlene, bought a box of old papers at an estate sale in Georgia around four years ago and you won't believe what they found -- or what they think they found. They may have well opened up a dusty old box and found the Holy Grail or the tomb of Queen Nefertiti. Or Jimmy Hoffa! In fact, it's better than that. They claim to have found a copy of the super-secret formula for Coca-Cola.
If you know anything about the original recipe for Cola-Cola, and I wouldn't blame you if you didn't, then you know it's super super top secret. Like they will kill you if you find it. (Just kidding. Coca-Cola was in no way responsible for that tasteless joke.)
Anyhoo ... Kluge became convinced that the piece of paper he found inside the dusty box he picked up at an estate sale contained the ORIGINAL RECIPE FOR THE WORLD'S BIGGEST SODA because -- well, it's hard to say. The most Kluge will divulge is:
Whoever had typed this letter had seen the original recipe. The letter always references Coke and products and stuff.
Err, for that you want $15 million? Because Kluge put the recipe up for sale on eBay with a $5 million starting bid, $15 million if you want to skip all of that bidding nonsense. That's a lot to pay on such a vague description, isn't it?
Supposedly the Coke recipe is known by only a few people within the company. It used to contain actual cocaine, which was (sadly) taken out in 1903. Just kidding. Cocaine in soda = VERY BAD. Now it's made of things like sucrose or high fructose corn syrup and all that good stuff.
The Coca-Cola company denies that Kluge has the recipe, saying there is only ONE copy of the formula, and the company has it. Locked down! Fort Knox locked down! Says Coca-Cola's chief archivist:
At least once a year, somebody shows up and says, "I have the original formula for Coca-Cola. How much do you want to pay me for it?" Well, I don’t need to pay them anything for it because we have the only real one.
Reportedly, the recipe has yet to find any buyers online. Can't beat the real thing, as Coke would say. As for me, I'm still waiting to find that first edition Hemingway or Jackson Pollock painting at a flea market.
Have you ever found something really valuable at a flea market?
Image via DeusXFlorida/Flickr