Matt Pearl, WXIA
ATLANTA, GA (WXIA)-- It may be the most sought-after recipe in the world: the recipe to Coca-Cola, known by very few people.
The recipe is held in a safe at the World of Coca-Cola in downtown Atlanta. But now, one Georgia man believes he may have accidentally discovered the secret formula.
Cliff Kluge is a resident of Ringgold, Georgia who loves finding and selling antiques.
"It's a treasure hunt," he says. "We go around looking for treasure.
"And apparently we may have found some."
Kluge and his wife, Arlene, recently purchased a box of letters and papers at an estate sale. One of those papers is a cola recipe from 1943.
Kluge believes it is the recipe for Coca-Cola.
"You don't stumble on things like this very often," he said. "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."
The recipe for Coca-Cola, of course, is a tightly kept secret -- and has been since the 19th century.
Kluge's recipe matches closely with another recipe. Two years ago, NPR claimed to have found the original recipe for Coke and published it online. Their web site crashed from all the traffic.
So what have officials at Coca-Cola said?
"They told me they'd call me back in 7-10 business days," Kluge said last week. "Well, they haven't contacted me back."
They did return our calls with their own statement:
"Through the years, many have tried to crack the secret formula, but no one has been able to reproduce the 'real thing.' The real formula is safely tucked away in a vault at the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta."
That hasn't stopped Kluge. He has put the recipe on eBay.
"I put it down for an initial bid of $5 million and a 'Buy Now' bid of 15 million," he said.
Have there been any takers?
But for Kluge, it's not necessarily about the money anyway.
"It's just excitement," he says. "It's an Easter egg hunt, looking for eggs out there. And when you come up with something like this, it's Christmas."