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$100 bill printing error: Over $110 billion unusable

New special paper doesn't go through a printer correctly. Sound familiar? It just happened to U.S. government presses printing 1.1 billion $100 bills.
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1 of 10 Andy Smith/ZDNet

Here's a massive printing glitch, problems with paper feeds, that probably has happened to you. According to CNBC, U.S. government printing presses were unable to correctly feed new paper used to make $100 bills causing some notes to crease and create blank spaces on some of the bills. An unknown number of bills printed could be damaged so the entire batch of bills, 1.1 billion of them, will be unusable until someone figures out a way to sort the good ones from the bad. The exact cause of the problem is still unknown.

The total cost of printing the bills is estimated at $120 million - not including the re-sorting costs. The damaged money will have to be destroyed. No wonder Ben Franklin isn't smiling.

Here's a look at the new $100 bills and the security features embedded in them.

Credit: Moneyfactory.gov

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The back of the new $100 bill.

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The key security features in the new $100 bill which is expected to debut on February, 2011 include a 3D security ribbon that goes down the middle of the bill. When tilted up and down, you'll see bells changing to 100s as they move.

The bell inside the ink well will turn from copper to green when tilted.

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When you hold the bill up to the light you can see a faint image of Benjamin Franklin in the space on the right.

The numeral 100 on the lower right corner will change from copper to green as the bill is tilted.

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There's a security thread that runs to the left of the portrait. When held to the light you can see 100 and USA in an alternating pattern on both sides of the bill. The thread is pink when seen under an ultraviolet light.

When you move your finger along Franklin's left shoulder it will feel rough a result of the printing process.

Small words are printed on Franklin's jacket collar, along the blank space containing the watermark, along the golden quill, and along the note borders.

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On the back, there's a large golden 100 to help those who are visually impaired.

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The image on the left is a plate used in the $100 bill printing process and there's a sheet of freshly printed $100 bills on the right.

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The new $100 bill is scheduled to be the first one with current Treasury Secretary Tim Geitner's (left) signature. But the government will be forced to print the older version with former Bush Treasury Secretary's signature to keep enough bills in circulation.

There are about 6.6 billion $100 bills in circulation at one time so this fiasco accounted for about 1/6 of the total number.

Others in the photo: Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke, Treasurer Rios, and United States Secret Service Deputy Director Prewit on the right.

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The bill.

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The U.S. Treasury showed off the new bill around the world. Here is its unveiling in Kiev.

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