TODAY | April 13, 2012
>> want to tell you what could be the ultimate garage sale find. one man's heirs say that his $5 purchase of an antique oil stock certificate entitles them to nearly 2 million shares of stocks in coca-cola worth an estimated $130 million. but the soda giant says, no way. here's nbc's mike taibbi with the story.
>> reporter: here's the stock certificate . for shares purchased in 1924 in the palmer union oil company . the certificate endorsed by the buyer but not assigned to anyone. so, tony ma reason, the yard sale treasure hunter and fan of get rich quick reality shows like storage wars and pawn star signed his time. learned about the connection to the coca-cola company and announced to his daughter genie and the rest of the family how much he was convinced his garage sale find was worth
>> $130 million.
>> reporter: it's like a bearer bond says family attorney, like a blank check .
>> today, that certificate is exchangeable for approximately 1.8 million shares of coca-cola common stock .
>> reporter: with coca-cola's share price hovering around $72, that's how the marrone pegs their worth at $130 million.
>> reporter: but not so fast said the judge in the case, saying that the claim, this is a new version of the beverly hillbillys. he said that old oil company stock certificate was signed before babe ruth hit 60. back when the country was celebrating the election of calvin coolidge . and that the eight or nine mergers of companies that followed the oil company 's demise and led ultimately to coca-cola, left him a little skeptical of the family's eye-opening claim. it's justifiable skepticism said the expert on old stock certificates consulted by both sides.
>> i would say the value would be as a collectible which is maybe $10 or $20.
>> reporter: still ebay right now has offers to sell palmer union stock certificates at prices ranging from several hundred to more than $1,000 apiece. for her part, jamie marrone says she'd like the money but won't be upset if she wins. the company says shares of palmer union oil were never convertible into shares of the coca-cola company and calls the claim meritless. jamie says she's just fulfilling her father's request.
>> we're a hard-working family and just doing what our dad wanted us to do.
>> reporter: for "today," mike taibbi , nbc news, los angeles .