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Fifteen-year-old bids $15 million for ‘Coke recipe’ on eBay

The vault where the formula is purported to be kept appears to have many security features. Coca-Cola's secret formula found a new home at the World of Coca-Cola after being housed at SunTrust since 1925. (Bob Andres, WSB)
The vault where the formula is purported to be kept appears to have many security features. Coca-Cola's secret formula found a new home at the World of Coca-Cola after being housed at SunTrust since 1925. (Bob Andres, WSB)
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Updated: 5/18/2013 10:02 am
ATLANTA, Ga. (AJC) -- Coca-Cola insists the copy of its secret formula auctioned this week on eBay is a fake.

If true, then perhaps it’s fitting that the high bid for the type-written, one-page recipe is, in all likelihood, a fraud.

“Some kid put a bid on it,” Ringgold antiques dealer Cliff Kluge told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an email. “It effectively took it off the market, and I can’t get eBay to re-list it.”

Not until Sunday, anyway. The 15-year-old who offered $15 million for the document has three days to come up with the money.

Assuming the teen can’t make good on the offer, Kluge plans to start the bidding again next week.

The retired pilot discovered the cola recipe — copied in 1943 — among papers he purchased at an estate sale a prominent Chattanooga chemist.

Coca-Cola archivist Ted Ryan said he knows the document is a phony because, “there is only one copy of the formula, and we’ve got it locked in our vault (at the World of Coke museum in downtown Atlanta).”

True or not, the beverage titan would be the only one who could authenticate the recipe — concocted 127 years ago by Dr. John S. Pemberton — by comparing it to the one in their vault.

The odds of that happening are about as good as the odds the 15-year-old bidder will come up with $15 million by Sunday.
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