Family Claims Coca-Cola Owes Them 1.8 Million Shares For Old Stock Certificate

Like something straight out of Antiques Roadshow (aka the show that makes you want to rip apart your attic every time someone gets a surprise windfall), the family of a man who passed away a few years ago claims Coca-Cola owes them 1.8 million shares, worth around $130 million, of the company after coming upon a stock certificate the man bought at a garage sale.

The man’s family is trying to get Coca-Cola to pay up on the multi-million stake from a canceled stock certificate that he had purchased in 2008. It’s from Palmer Union Oil Co, and the deceased man had done his homework to trace that company back through other long gone companies until landing on Coca-Cola.

When he passed away in 2010, his family took on his estate and now have to convince a judge in Delaware that they should be paid by Coca-Cola. Reuters says if they are successful, the estate would be among the largest non-institutional investors in Coca-Cola. The soda makers are having none of it, however.

“The claim of Mr. Marohn’s estate that it is entitled to millions of dollars in Coca-Cola stock — based on a canceled stock certificate for a long-defunct oil company purchased at an estate sale — is meritless and unfair to the Company’s millions of legitimate shareholders,” the company said in a statement.

Stock certificates need to be on record with the company that issued them, says Coca-Cola. However, lawyers for the man’s estate think they have a case, based on the fact that his certificate was endorsed and signed, but that the transferee was left blank.

*Thanks for the tip, Jonathan!

Garage sale find: $130 million in Coke stock? [Reuters]