The original owner of the helmet was Olaf the Blue, a Viking who had reached North America in the early 10th century and had claimed this land as his property. Thus, whoever possessed his helmet would have legal claim to North America.
It was originally created by Carl Barks in a 1952 comic strip. Later, it was reprinted in its first comic book that same year. This part of the story would be reprinted several times.
In 1997, Don Rosa made the sequel to Barks' story: The Lost carts of Columbus, in which the helmet appeared.
Later still in 2011, the helmet was drawn in a cameo function by Leonel Castellani.
Major Arcs (its stories)
The Golden Helmet Saga
Donald Duck was working as guard at the Duckburg museum when he discovered a map to the legendary Golden Helmet. He was hired by the Curator to find this artifact and bring it back to display. Also searching for the helmet was the descendant of the original owner, Azure Blue, and his lawyer, Sharky who hoped to acquire the helmet to have legalize his claim to North America. When they do find the helmet, it makes those who wear it become greedy and power hungry. To end the madness, Donald's nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie who also went on the journey, throw the helmet into the sea.
The Lost Carts of Columbus
Now, an artifact as powerful as the Helmet can't stay lost, for, as luck would have it, Gladstone Gander (a very lucky duck) goes fishing in the same area the helmet went down in (long story). The nephews also discover columbus' missing charts which speak of even older claims to North America. Its unknown where the helmet dissappeared to, after these older claims were presented (and later revealed to be fakes or claims for a different country). But, for some reason the helmet is seen in the Woodchuck museum of Duckburg, at the end of the story.
Rightful Owners (Duck Tales Cameo)
When the nephews, Webby and John D. Rockerduck are exploring Uncle Scrooge's newly opened "Scrooge McDuck Collection" (which held some of the artifacts Scrooge had acquired throughout his life), one of the artifacts present is the helmet. The nephews express their confusion about it presence given that they had seen it go into the ocean, but Scrooge expresses that it is a tale all its own.