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Here's a screenshot. I think it may be Mac-Sparrow-specific, as I'm not seeing them in gmail or on my iOS devices (including in sparrow for iPhone).

They seem to generally replace links, and are a new problem (possibly since Mountain Lion install, but I"m not sure).

enter image description here

EDIT: This ceased happening shortly after it started, although I can't say why.

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These generally mean that you don't have a font installed that can render the specified character (which seems unlikely) or that the character is being misinterpreted and Sparrow is showing you the wrong one (more likely). Do you get this from other apps or when you copy the contents of an email to a TextEdit document? –  Nathan Greenstein Aug 6 '12 at 16:07
    
These are characters from Apple's Last Resort Font. They appear when for some reason the app cannot access the font it is trying to use, often because of a bad font cache or something similar. Cleaning caches may help. –  Tom Gewecke Nov 4 '12 at 18:20
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