Cliff Kluge of Ringgold said he and his wife, Arlene, purchased some old boxes of papers and letters at an estate sale for about $100 four years ago and in one of the boxes they discovered a 1943 document containing what they believe to be the original recipe for Coca-Cola, ABC News reported Tuesday.
"Whoever had typed this letter had seen the original recipe," Kluge said. "The letter always references Coke and products and stuff. We believe it is definitely related to Coca-Cola."
Kluge put the recipe up for sale on eBay with a starting price of $5 million and a "buy it now" price of $15 million.
Kluge said he attempted to contact the Coca-Cola company before putting the recipe up for sale.
"They told me they would call me back in seven to 10 days and they never called me back," Kluge said.
Company officials said they are confident the document is not the real recipe for their soft drink.
"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," said Ted Ryan, chief archivist at Coca-Cola.
"We know he doesn't have the formula. There is only one copy. He has what one of the many imitator copies floating around out there," he said. "So I'm going to go to sleep peacefully knowing that we still have our copy of the formula."
The letter had no bids Tuesday afternoon with only hours left in the auction.
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