Coca-Cola ‘secret formula’ put on eBay for £10m – but is it the real thing?


An American antiques dealer claims to have stumbled across the top secret recipe for Coca-Cola.

Cliff Kluge said he discovered the 1943 formula in a box of personal papers and letters he purchased from the estate of a respected chemist in his hometown of Georgia.

He is convinced it is the real thing and has posted the paper on eBay for a starting price of $5million (£3.2million) or a ‘buy now’ price of $15million (£9.6million). So far, there have been no takers.

For Mr Kluge, it’s not necessarily about the money but the ‘excitement’ of finding what he believes is a hidden treasure.

‘It’s an Easter egg hunt, looking for eggs out there. And when you come up with something like this, it’s Christmas,’ said Mr Kluge of Ringgold.

‘You don’t stumble on things like this very often. It’s a letter, and a formula, and the processes to make it. I think it’s the recipe for Coca-Cola.’

He believes that Coca-Cola might have sent the ingredient list to the pharmacist because the company was having trouble obtaining everything necessary during the war.

The 19th century recipe for the fizzy drink is a tightly kept secret and is safely tucked away in a vault at the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta.

Mr Kluge’s recipe is very similar to one the US  radio programme This American Life published two years ago.

Coca-Cola hasn’t directly responded to Mr Kluge.

Ted Ryan, the archivist for Coca-Cola told Atlanta’s WXIA station that he believes the recipe is a formula for a ‘cola’ type drink but not Coca-Cola.


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  1. For a lot less than what you’d pay on Ebay, you can buy a copy of my new book, FOR GOD, COUNTRY & COCA-COLA: THE DEFINITIVE HISTORY OF THE GREAT AMERICAN SOFT DRINK AND THE COMPANY THAT MAKES IT, which on page 491 contains the original formula for Coca-Cola in the handwriting of Frank Robinson, the “unsung hero” of Coca-Cola who named the drink, wrote out the distinction logo, advertised it, and manufactured it in the early years. There’s a great deal more of interest in the book as well. See –Mark Pendergrast

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