Yes I can see it now I was testing on ie6 and ie7 Ie6 was showing the bug I mentioned which is what I thought you were talking about.
The IE8 bug is interesting and even on your first link the final quote is missing in IE8.
I've done some testing and nothing seems to fix it although I have worked out what's happening.
It seems that IE will only allow one image on that element and if you specify an image for the first-letter and an image for the element itself then the first-letter image is only displayed.
Strangely enough if you use the same image for both the first-letter and the element itself then the same image displays twice!
So a partial fix for IE8 would be to use a straight quote gif (e.g ") that you can use at the start and at the end using the same image. You could do that via conditional comments to let others have the better image.
Or the other alternative is to add an inner element so that you can hang one image on instead.
Interesting and nasty bug