'Bond king' Bill Gross donates old Bloomberg keyboard, Beanie Babies to Smithsonian

Bond manager Bill Gross donates his old keyboard to the Smithsonian for new American Enterprise exhibit

Once the centerpiece of his legendary bond managing days, Bill Gross' old Bloomberg terminal keyboard is getting a new home at the Smithsonian Institution.

The co-founder of Pacific Investment Management Co. also donated several other items from his trading desk -- a Monroe Trader bond calculator, two Beanie Babies (one red bull and one black bear) and a pair of fuzzy dice always set to lucky number 11.

"I think it'll be pretty cool," Gross said of his items' inclusion in the exhibition at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. "It'll be like visiting your old home where you grew up."

The items are part of the American Enterprise exhibit, opening July 1, which also boasts Eli Whitney's cotton gin.

Gross' keyboard and other items are part of a section called "Finance in the Global Era," said Peter Liebhold, curator of the exhibition.

When considering items for this section, he said the staff decided that they needed a Bloomberg terminal as the "icon of the modern financial world."

Gross' status in the financial world made his keyboard even more important, Liebhold said. He added that the addition of the dice and the Beanie Babies helps to humanize Gross' keyboard beyond its technological value.

"I was really interested in the notion of Bill Gross as the individual," he said. "It really makes that moment where our visitors can really identify with it much more."

Gross said he always arranged his dice and Beanie Babies a certain way at his desk and might be tempted to do so when he sees the exhibition.

"I'll want to adjust the dice to 11 if they're not to 11," he said. "And make sure the bull and the bear are appropriately placed so that if I'm bearish on the market, the bear is a little more forward than the bull."

The keyboard also has a signature Gross touch. At the top is a piece of white sticker tape with his old password on it.

"There were times when I hadn't had too much sleep and I'd come in the morning and I'd go, 'What's my password?'" he said. "I'm sort of a trusting guy, and I wondered why anybody would want to access my Bloomberg terminal anyways because it has the same information they can get on their own terminal."

After years of refusing to abandon his 25-year-old keyboard, the "bond king" said he now has a new one in his new role as portfolio manager at Janus Capital Group.

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