The wallet was created around Feb 2013, using unknown wallet software. All that is known is a passprase, and 15 words. I suspect the passphrase was used to encrypt the wallet, and is probably irrelevant here, since the wallet file itself is lost.
All words are found in the “old” Electrum list. But the number 15 is puzzling, since no version of Electrum ever produced 15 words by default, as far as I know. I considered the possibility that this mnemonic was extended with custom words, but it looks like custom words in Electrum work only with the “new” word list.
I cloned Electrum repository from github and tried converting mnemonic to hex seed using the old list, then converting it back to mnemonic using the “new” word list. This method produces 15 words that Electrum GUI does recognize as 12 + 3 (extended), but leads to empty wallet.
My working hypothesis: there ought to be another wallet software that existed around 2013 that used Electrum’s “old” word list and generated 15 words by default. Any other ideas or suggestions?