The newest $100 bills are surely intimidating to counterfeiters, with such new high-tech features as a 3D security strip and color-shifting bell image. Unfortunately, the bills are also a bit tricky for the government's own printers. About 1.1 billion faulty--and unusable--bills have been printed, CNBC's Eamon Javers reports.

The bills tend to crease during the printing process, leaving a big chunk of the surface blank. "The total face value of the unusable bills, $110 billion, represents more than ten percent of the entire supply of US currency on the planet," Javers writes. "Because officials don’t know how many of the 1.1 billion bills include the flaw, they have to hold them in the massive vaults until they are able to develop a mechanized system that can sort out the usable bills from the defects."

Hunting for the flawed bills by hand would take 20 to 30 years. Using a machine, Treasury Department officials say the sorting process will take only about a year.