It’s every flea market hunter and “Antique Roadshow” fan’s dream: to find a piece bought for cheap that’s actually worth thousands of dollars.
A New Mexico man could have this dream realized after a bottle he bought for $4 was later learned to be well over a century old and thought to be only one of a few left in the world.
The bottle picked up by 60-year-old Jim Vergo sports a label that calls it “French Wine Coca,” a nerve tonic that says it is a “health restorer” and “stimulant.” According to the Albuquerque Journal, the tonic was a recipe that came pre-Coca-Cola and was later banned.
The newspaper reported that the tonic was a mix of coca, kola nut, the herb dramiana and cocethylene, which is similar in chemical structure to cocaine. Dr. John Pemberton changed the formula to use sugar instead of wine after Atlanta enacted temperance legislation in 1885.
It is said to be one of three bottles like it left in the world.
The bottle is now listed by the Dallas-based Heritage Auctions and is expected to sell for $5,000 or more when the auction goes live on May 24.
“I’m not a big Coca-Cola collector, so I’d rather have someone who is to have it,” Vergo told the Journal. “Someone who will cherish it.”
Watch KOAT-TV’s report about the rare find: