Is this the secret recipe for Coca-Cola? (Cliff Kluge/eBay)
"You don't stumble on things like this very often," Kluge told WXIA. "It's a letter, and a formula, and the processes to make it. I think it's a little deeper than having fun; I think it's the recipe for Coca-Cola."
For its part, Coca-Cola maintains that the secret recipe for the world’s best-selling soft drink is still safely ensconced at the World of Coca-Cola in downtown Atlanta.
"Through the years, many have tried to crack the secret formula, but no one has been able to reproduce the 'real thing,'" the company said in a statement. “The real formula is safely tucked away in a vault at the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta."
Kluge says that he and his wife discovered the recipe inside a box of letters and papers they recently purchased from an estate sale. The recipe is dated 1943. Coca-Cola says its recipe has been kept a secret since the 19th century.
However, Kluge says his recipe closely resembles that of one uncovered by NPR in 2011 and aired on the episode “The Recipe” of "This American Life." When NPR posted that recipe online, the number of users clicking it caused NPR's site to crash.
But if you want to buy Kluge’s recipe, you won't just be able to copy if off of eBay. He has redacted most of the specific details for the recipe. Instead, you’ll need some spare change: $5 million. Or $15 million if you want to guarantee yourself a winning bid by using the “Buy It Now” option.
So, has anyone stepped up to meet minimum asking price?
"Uh, no," Kluge told WXIA.
"It's just excitement," he added. "It's an Easter egg hunt, looking for eggs out there. And when you come up with something like this, it's Christmas."
Kluge said he reached out to Coca-Cola but hasn’t heard back.
"They told me they'd call me back in 7-10 business days," he said. "Well, they haven't contacted me back."