When Robert Noblitt first thought he might be holding an 1838 Republic of Texas bond worth millions, skeptics warned him to watch out for the fine print.
Last week, Texas archivists believe they found the fine print to invalidate Mr. Noblitt's claim that his $10 bond might be worth $6 million -- on a yellowed page of an 1858 report from the state comptroller.
"The page is so yellowed that we couldn't even fax a copy of it," said Mike Green, reference archivist at the Texas State Library in Austin. "This seems to remove the possibility that it's been collecting interest for all this time."
After his grandparents discovered the outdated $10 bond, in a family chest, Mr. Noblitt hoped he could make a valid claim for the principal and 10% annual interest promised on the face of the currency note.
But no such luck. After a week of searching, Mr. Green last week said separate state reports showed a deadline of Jan. 1, 1858 was set for the obligations to be redeemed.
Even then, he said, the holders received only a fraction of their principal and interest.
But Mr. Noblitt, a college student in Edmond, Okla., hasnot decided if he will abandon his claim.
"I've still got some people I want to talk to," he said.