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Clapton meets Cooperman

Wall Street standouts are often likened to rock stars.

Wall Street standouts are often likened to rock stars. Now some have taken the analogy a bit further. Over the past several months, a collection of renowned market mavens autographed a white Fender Stratocaster guitar, the preferred ax of such legends as Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. It will be auctioned later this year to raise money for charity. Among the signatories: Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett, bond fund wizard Bill Gross, ex­Fidelity Magellan maestro Peter Lynch and hedge fund supremos Lee Cooperman, Paul Tudor Jones and George Soros.

The auction is the brainchild of Doug Kass, manager of hedge fund Seabreeze Partners, and Todd Harrison, an ex­ Morgan Stanley derivatives trader and former president of hedge fund Cramer Berkowitz. Harrison in 2001 founded a financial commentary Web site called Minyanville, which Kass contributes to. Kass bought the guitar last year and sent it around the country to be signed by the investors, then handed it off to Harrison, who is organizing the auction on behalf of the Ruby Peck Foundation for Children's Education, an entity he created four years ago. The foundation is named for Harrison's grandfather, who died in 2001.

Harrison's Minyanville is a self-described "financial infotainment" site, a kind of Weblog on steroids, which lets users view and contribute to real-time financial commentary during the trading day. The site also encourages philanthropic involvement among readers -- that's how the guitar auction wound up being featured.

"People find out about the foundation on our site and just send us checks," says Harrison, "but we think that this can really drive a lot more interest."