"The E series was the bargain series of Nikkor lenses. Essentially the glass wasn't all that bad, but the construction of the lenses left a lot to be desired. For amature use just fine, but a pro would wear them out in a month."
They weren't built as well as the Nikkors of the day but don't sell them short. The current Canon EF standard line of lenses are no better built than the Nikon E-series were and they don't get worn out too often by pros (I use Canon EOS SLRs these days). I had a couple of Nikon E lenses when I used Nikon cameras and they held up well to professional use.